In a quiet move, India ends free drugs, diagnostics to public health units

No fanfare, no press releases for this government action: India has decided to drop its three-year-old practice of providing free drugs and diagnostics in the nation's public health facilities. States instead would have the option of providing them on their own, a news report indicates.

A health ministry official told the Times of India the plan, which was changed constantly during its young life, would be ended, the effort carried out instead by the states under the National Health Mission backed by national incentive funds.

The plan was inaugurated in 2012 and rose to cover all 348 medicines on the essential-drugs list before dropping to covering only 50 drugs last year and soon, none.

The Free Drug Service and the Free Diagnosis Service apparently were dropped after the national budget failed to provide funding.

- here is the Times of India story