ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Underestimate of Tamil Nadu Budget for Drugs

The article “‘Medicines for All’, the Pharma Industry and the Indian State” by S Srinivasan (EPW, 11 June 2011) should be commended for its painstaking research and lucid presentation of facts. However, there are a few minor misinterpretations of the facts in that article: (1) Table 6 (p 50) mentions that the amount budgeted for supply of medicines through the TNMSC (2011-12) for the directorate of public health and preventive medicine is Rs 3 crore. I believe that the author has taken this figure from page 9 of the Health and Family Welfare Department Demand Document. However this is the cost of drugs for the School Health Programme only and not the cost of all drugs for primary health care (PHC). On page 14 of the same document we have, “Supply of Drugs through Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation Ltd under the Control of Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (PHC): 31,54,02,000”. So the total PHC (i e, primary care) drug budget is actually around Rs 35 crore. (2) Table 6 mentions that the amount budgeted for supply of medicines through the TNMSC (2011-12) for the directorate of medical education is Rs 78 crore. It is found that the budget for drugs for renal transplant has been excluded and that amounts to Rs 99 lakh. This figure may be 1% of the budget, but I have included it here to highlight the fact that the Government of Tamil Nadu also supplies such drugs totally free of cost to those who undergo transplants in government hospitals. Therefore the total medical college (i e, tertiary care hospitals) drug budget is approximately Rs 80 crore.

We also have “CR Supply of Drugs and Surgical Stores to Government Medical Institutions/Hospitals under the control of Director of Medical and Rural Health Services through Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation 2210 66 Medicine Rs 61,88,00,000”.

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