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Millions of Indians Face Poverty Due to Health Spending

June 15 2018

A study conducted by the experts at the Public Health Foundation of India has revealed that 55 million Indians faced poverty in a single year, owing to their expenditure on healthcare.

The British Medical Journal carried the study conducted by the three experts. The findings reveal that an average household’s largest portion of health spending can be attributed to non-communicable diseases like heart diseases, cancer and diabetes.

Catastrophic expenditure is a term used for health expenditure when it equals or exceeds 10% of the overall consumption expenditure of a household. The study also revealed that the probability of cancer resulting in catastrophic expenditure is the highest amongst non-communicable diseases.

The poorest section of the country are the hardest hit by catastrophic expenditure resulting from road traffic and non-road traffic injuries. The average stay at the hospital for the poor extends beyond seven days.

The authors of the study, including health economists Sakthivel Selvaraj and Habib Hasan Farooqui, analysed data from major national surveys. The surveys include the nationwide consumer expenditure surveys spanning two decades from the years 1993-94 to 2011-12 and the Social Consumption: Health survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation in the year 2014.

Beginning from the year 2011, the initiatives made by the government to reduce the burden of medical and healthcare expenditure on the households, is documented in the study. The observations show that all the drugs in the National List of Essential Medicines were brought under control in the Drug Price Control Order 2013. It was also mentioned that these medicines constituted just 20% of the retail pharmacy market and the sales volumes of many of the drugs fell after the price control.

*Source: The Times of India

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