Scheme for free medicine to poor and uninsured gets go-ahead

An agreement providing for the distribution of free medicine to the poor and uninsured was signed by the Health Ministry and industry representatives Tuesday, marking the first step in the creation of a network of free medicine distributors, which will operate along similar lines to food banks.

The scheme is aimed at augmenting the work being done by the Health Ministry to provide the poor and uninsured with free medical care via “vouchers,” which have so far been distributed to 10,600 recipients.

The voucher scheme, however, does not include free medicine, which will now be covered by the new scheme. The scheme will be supervised and run by the Association of Pharmaceutical Companies, which will be responsible for collecting drug donations and distributing.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry is drafting a bill for the reduction of the cost of generic drugs, which includes incentives for doctors and pharmacists to promote their use.

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