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     New Delhi, October 03, 2012: In an attempt to provide affordable health care to the people, the Government of India was contemplating to provide essential medicines free of cost under public health facilities in the country, the Government said today.

     “This initiative will promote rational use of medicines and reduce the consumption of inessential, unscientific and hazardous medicines,” Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

     Addressing a Conference on “Responsible Use of Medicines” at Amsterdam, Netherland Azad said responsible and rational use of medicines was a crucial part of the national health policy and access to medicines was one of the vital tools needed to improve and maintain health.

     Considering that provision of affordable medicines is the responsibility of the public sector and the State, a fine balance has to be maintained between the private sector which operates on the demands of the market and the responsibility of the State for ensuring a positive benefit risk profile of available medicines, he said.

     “We need to look at adherence to Standard Treatment Guidelines, curbing unethical promotion of medicines by the drug manufacturers, better regulatory control over prescription and dispensing of medicine and also to make the consumer aware the hazards of self medication,” the Minister said. 

     India was facing an increasing threat of Anti Microbial Resistance, he said.

     To tackle the threat and also to promote rational and responsible use of antibiotics in India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has developed the National Policy for Containment of Anti Microbial Resistance which aims at prudent use of antibiotics, prevention of emergence of drug resistance and prevention of spread of transmission of resistant bacteria, Azad said.

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