PSM India and Consumer Online Foundation along with various stakeholders in the Healthcare sector gathered in Mumbai to celebrate Patient Solidarity Day on 9th December 2014 over a roundtable discussion to deliberate on UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE and patients' right to access quality healthcare.


NEW DELHI, 6th December 2014:

6th December 2014: New Delhi- Leading Consumer Organisations and Patients Groups celebrated the Patient Solidarity Day today at Mayur Vihar Housing Complex with Senior Citizens today to demonstrate their solidarity to demand access to safe and quality Healthcare for all and Universal Health Coverage for the Senior Citizens similar to the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana started in April 2008 by Government of India. Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) India, Healthy You Foundation, Consumer Online Foundation and International Alliance of Patients’ Organisation (IAPO) have come together to celebrate this day to highlight the importance of patient-centric healthcare and urgent need to take care of the elderly population growing significantly and is forecasted to hit almost 300 million in around two decades. The elderly population, aged more than 60 years, is projected to constitute 18.3% of the total population in 2050, up from 7.7% in 2010, according to the United Nations. The elderly population will grow to 112 million by 2015 from 72 million in 2000. However the Health Insurance for this vulnerable population is only 1.6% covered under the public and private Health Insurance Scheme. The National Campaign launched by the Consumer Organisations today is to draw the attention to the need to access to high quality, equal and affordable healthcare for all. PSM India Initiative will provide a platform to all patient groups and speak with one voice, to show solidarity and to increase awareness. “Healthcare was an important component of BJP’s Election Manifesto during 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Patient centric organizations and the general public are eagerly waiting to see concrete steps are taken by the Modi Government to bring affordable and quality medicines to the patients. So far, this is only a dream for Indians” said Mr. Bejon Misra, Founder Director of PSM India Initiative while addressing the Senior Citizens in Mayur Vihar organised by Healthy You Foundation Chairman Shri S. Krishnan.

More and more Indians are susceptible to hypertension, diabetes, heart ailments, various forms of cancers and other serious health problems. These health issues are now prevalent in our society at epidemic proportions. These ailments no longer happen to “them” or “others”, today, they can happen to “us”, to “anyone”. Any long-term health problems destroy families, relationships and economic balance of communities. Making quality medicines accessible is the least we can do for the citizens. Idea of this special day is to bring people together cutting across religious, class, caste, disease and nationality lines. Because a person in sickness, accident, disability or any health related issue needs it the most!

Through Patient solidarity, partner organizations want to create more awareness about Generic medicines. Contrary to popular belief, the generic medicines are of very good quality and highly effective. Their availability is critical to bringing down high costs of healthcare in a developing country such as India. The recent move by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to bring all the essential medicines under the Price Control Order was not seen favourably by the Pharmaceutical Industry, which made the Government roll back against the interest of the Patients. “Health Assurance through Health Insurance for all” said Mr. S. Krishnan, Chairman of Healthy You Foundation while presenting the welcome address. He further stated that “ as elders even though we are covered by the Government under CGHS and as lucky citizen to have worked for the Government, I still find it difficult at times to access prompt and efficient healthcare facility as many services are not covered by CGHS and the process to access healthcare at times becomes cumbersome and bureaucratic”. This day proposes to bring all stake holders together, including, Government, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), Central Drug Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO), Medical Council of India and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on board to educate citizens to demand GENERIC MEDICINES and to demand easy ACCESS to Quality Healthcare. Others who spoke on the occasion were Wing Commander Dr. M. L. Bala and Mr. S. N. Bajpe. Dr Bala mentioned that “the Government of India along with State Governments should device a simple and easy method to link with all the Senior Citizens to enable them to get Insurance Coverage irrespective of their age or income. Every citizen for that matter needs Healthcare Cover and made to go out of pocket to access safe and quality healthcare. We must make all the players in the healthcare delivery system accountable to the patients and regular feedback for senior citizens should be gathered by the local police station and the Medical Officers to ensure no one suffers due to lack of resource or facility to access healthcare” said Dr. Bala. Proposing the vote of thanks Mr. S. N. Bajpe thanked PSM India and all the partner organisations to celebrate the day in Mayur Vihar and requested Mr. Bejon Misra to take the movement forward on behalf of all the Senior Citizens. He mentioned that “like we have ADHAAR CARD to capture the profile of citizens, similarly in the same card the HEALTH PROFILE of every citizen should be included so that at times of emergency the healthcare provider can get the complete history of the patients based on the truthful data available with Government of India to immediately administer quality care in a seamless manner and not depend on the patient’s family to sensitise on the history of the healthcare or profile of the patient. This will bring promptness in the emergency service and bring medication in a rational and safe manner”.
Other objectives of the Patient Solidarity Day Campaign in the coming months will include
Implementation of the 'National Health Assurance Mission' by Government of India and State governments with focus on reducing Out of Pocket (OOP) spending for the common man.
Encourage sale of generic Medicines without compromising on the quality of a universally accessible health care system.
To draft a transparent and comprehensive healthcare policy that keeps up with the dynamic challenges and continuous changes in the complex Health Care systems.
All stake holders ought to closely work with patient-consumer organisations to ensure effective implementation of the Government programs for elders and patients suffering from chronic and rare diseases. Also to connect the existing Toll Free Helplines managed by partner organizations on behalf of Government of India to encourage feedback and seek ideas on the improvement of JAN AUSHADHI and SAFE MEDICINES.
Following activities are proposed,
Developing communication tools like copy of advertisements and posters to convey the key messages to the citizens on accessibility and affordability of safe medicines.

Organising various public events, atleast three in three months, to educate the citizens on accessing the safe and quality healthcare, with focus on sale of generic medicines.

Start drafting the New Health care Policy 2014 and the blueprint for implementation of the “National Health Assurance Mission” with focus on immediate coverage for the poor.

This Campaign in India will be led by Mr. Bejon Kumar Misra, a known champion working for the last 30+ years on Patient’s and Consumer’s Rights globally. He is based in New Delhi but networking with more than 250 Consumer Organisations in more than 120 countries. In India he is regularly in touch with more than 2000+ consumer-patient groups from all the 35 States of the country. To know more about him and his activities, please visit his websites and Facebook www.consumerconexion.org and patientsafetyaccess.org