Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 136  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 827-835

Cost of medicines & their affordability in private pharmacies in Delhi (India)

1 Department of Pharmacology, Maulana Azad Medical College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India
2 Delhi Society for Promotion of Rational Use of Drugs, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Vandana Roy
Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Maulana Azad Medical College New Delhi 110 002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 23287131

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Background & objectives: Medicines can account for up to 90 per cent of health care spending by poor people. High costs of medicines contribute to decreased access to healthcare. This study was conducted to assess the cost of medicines and their affordability in the private pharmacies in Delhi, India. Methods: A survey was conducted to assess the costs of prescribed medicines and treatment of community acquired pneumonia (CAP), with medicines purchased from 27 private pharmacies, in Delhi. Affordability of medicines was assessed by comparing the costs of treatment (medicines) to the monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) on food, minimum monthly and daily wages for different classes of workers. Results: A large variability in the costs of prescriptions was observed (129.37+ 217.99) The cost of treatment of CAP varied from Rs. 34.50- 244.75 with azithromycin and Rs.72.20- 277.30 with levofloxacin. The percentage of MPCE on food spent for a prescription was 17.64 per cent for urban and 23.4 per cent for rural population. The percentage of MPCE on food spent for treatment of CAP ranged from 10.11 to 13.42 per cent with azithromycin and 13.28 to 17.61 per cent with levofloxacin. The number of days a worker on minimum daily wages would have to work to enable him to purchase his prescription medicines ranged from 1-17 days, depending on the problem. The cost of treatment of CAP required 1-3 days of work by a daily wage earner, depending on the brand of medicine prescribed. Interpretation & conclusions: The findings of our study show that the costs of medicines are highly variable and not affordable for the economically poor in India. Modifications in National Pharmaceutical Policy need to be done urgently.

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