Though India is among the biggest generic medicines manufacturer across the globe, there still aren’t enough essential anti-cancer drugs, meant to treat childhood cancers, available in the country. A new study has revealed that the availability of such anti-cancer drugs at private as well as public sector pharmacies in New Delhi remains to be far less that the prescribed WHO standards.
George Institute for Global Health led the study in association with Max Super Speciality Hospital, Boston University School of Public Health and University of Sydney.
For the study, researchers utilized a modified Health Action International/WHO methodology in order to gather data on price as well as availability of 33 anti-cancer drugs and 4 non-cancer essential drugs. They surveyed 4 public hospitals, 3 private hospitals and 32 private sector retail pharmacies in the national capital and discovered that the average price of essential anti-cancer drugs in these pharmacies and hospitals was lesser than the WHO’s target of 80 percent.
The findings of the study revealed that the median availability of essential anti-cancer drugs in the surveyed hospitals and pharmacies combined together was 70 percent on an average.
The poor affordability and low availability of anti-cancer essential drugs is a matter of concern and calls for government initiatives to enhance the availability of public sector drugs as a way to streamline private sector and public sector medicine supply and procurement systems, said the researchers.
The study appears in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Global Health.