The Impact on Healthcare Marketing After The Declaration of The Financial Budget of The Nation
Unfortunately, the healthcare industry is among the many other industries which is vital but seem to be neglected by the administrators of the nation for time and again. Due to insufficient funding and more out of the pocket expenditure, there has been little growth in the conditions of the health in the nation overall. The healthcare industry including the pharmaceuticals companies, healthcare providers, medical researchers, medical device providers has been trying hard to negotiate with the government to revise the tax regulations imposed on them to reformulate better plans such as health insurance covers and more, for the benefit of the common people of the nation. Nonetheless, some issues that continue to be ignored even after 2017 declaration of the budget.
There have been some reiteration and news policies announced that are discussed below:
- The 1.97% change in the budget allocation towards healthcare from INR 39,879 crore to INR 48,878 crores (Source: forbesindia.com) has been well received and applauded, but the major part of it pertains to human resources and medical education.
- Our current finance minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley, has announced his wishes to reformulate policies and rules for the medical devices industry also encouraging them to manufacture locally and discourage the dependence on items imported from foreign countries. All this to guarantee that patients can afford these life-sustaining devices. But no particular announcements or promise was made to reduce the import duty structure on the medical devices.
- The government of India has announced that it will make amends to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. And after calculations, it has been found that these amends will act for the common people of the nation as it wishes to promote generics. The amends will also result in low prices of medicines.
- The announcement regarding the fact that two new AIIMS (All India Institute of MedicalSciences) in the states of Gujarat and Jharkhand is yet to be set up is quite satisfying and was in dire need. A large number of people would finally be able to afford medical help from government institutions without burning a hole in their pockets. More so, it will benefit the unprivileged ones who cannot afford certain vital medical help due to lack of funds. But the concern should be keeping up to the name and quality of AIIMS for which staffing them with quality resources is a must!
- There has been announcement towards restructuring medical education in the nation.In fact, the declaration that says additional 5000 postgraduate seats for specialist courses to be added is wise and sought after the decision. The government has also decided to start DNB or the Diploma National Board courses in district hospitals and municipality hospitals across the country. But again, what is to be kept in mind is how fast the courses are made available for the students. Also the readiness of these hospitals to offer these courses. The additional seats are marvelous change, but the sooner the seats are expanded in the institutions, the better it is for the students who are in their present ongoing graduate MBBS courses.
- There has been a talk, and the government has shown an interest in a comprehensive primary care by converting 1.5 lakh sub-centers in rural areas to wellness centers.Although it is a move towards positive development of the country, the blueprint or the plan need to be examined and seen how appropriate it seems for the current scenario as the country is burdened with diseases. And hence preventive care is also an issue that has to be kept in mind or incorporated in the plan.
- The short and medium targets are quite ambitious though 70 years since independence is quite a long time to address and eradicate some diseases. The targets include* Action plans to eliminate Kala Azar and Filariasis by 2017* Eradicate Leprosy by 2018* Eliminate Measles by 2020* Eradicate Tuberculosis by 2025* Bring down MMR to 100 by 2018-2020* Bring down IMR or the Infant Mortality Rate to 28 by 2019
- The plans are well thought and certainly seem ambitious targets, and hence they must be backed up by high power initiatives and strategies. Also, most importantly there has been no announcement towards non-communicable diseases while they comprise 75%of disease burden in the future.
- The 2016-2017 budget had promised a plan called the National Health Protection Scheme that was expected to provide insurance cover of INR 1 lakh to all families living Below Poverty Line (the family incomes of whose is below INR 1 lakh annually). In fact, it was also promised that this insurance cover would be further rolled up to families with an income below 2 lakh annually. We know how the scheme is yet to be implemented and in fact even awaits a cabinet approval. Also, the budget allocation under this scheme has been further reduced.
- The impetus to demand a health insurance through additional exemptions were also expected but were not mentioned in the budget.
As always, the promises and declarations that have been made in the budget have to be properly implemented and need concrete strategizing keeping in mind the present health care scenario. Overall the budget provided some reiteration of the existing policies and declarations of some new ones to meet the challenges of the healthcare industry.