Pricing and availability of some essential child specific medicines in Odisha

Trupti Rekha Swain, Bandana Rath, Suhasini Dehury, Anjali Tarai, Priti Das, Rajashree Samal, Satyajit Samal, Harshavardhan Nayak
Indian Journal of Pharmacology 2015, 47 (5): 496-501

OBJECTIVES: Continuous availability of affordable medicines in appropriate formulations is essential to reduce morbidity and mortality in children. Odisha an eastern Indian state records very high mortality of children. The study aims at documenting the availability and prices paid for purchasing essential child-specific medicines.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The survey of 34 essential medicines was conducted in six randomly selected districts of Odisha. Data were collected from medicine outlets of the public, private, and other sector (Nongovernmental Organization [NGO]/mission sectors) of six randomly selected districts, using WHO/Health Action International medicine price collection methodology. For each medicine surveyed, data were collected on the highest and lowest-priced formulations available in each facility.

RESULTS: Both public sector and other sector health facilities procure only one brand of medicines, mean percentage availability of medicines being 17% and 21.8%, respectively. In the private sector, the mean percentage availability of the high and lowest-priced medicines for a particular drug product was 10.8% and 38.5%, respectively. The public sector procurement price is 48% lower than international reference prices. In the private sector, high-priced, and low-priced products are sold at 1.83 and 1.46 times the international reference price, respectively. Substantial price variation was observed for some medicines across individual outlets. Medicines were found to cost 2.08 times their international reference price in NGO/mission sector facilities.

CONCLUSIONS: The availability of children's medicines in public sector facilities of Odisha state is poor. Medicines for children cost relatively high in both private and NGO sectors compared to the international reference price. The availability medicines should be improved on an urgent basis to improve access of medicines for children of Odisha.

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