India – Drugs Selling Faster in Hospitals than Chemist Shops

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A newly-revamped audit of medicine sales in the country shows that drugs are selling faster in hospitals than in chemist shops suggesting that hospitals are gaining in importance as customers of pharmaceutical companies.

The revamped audit brings to light the fact that “these days people go straight to specialists in hospitals,” said Sameer Savkur, MD, IMS Health explaining the growth in numbers. He also pointed out that while the conventional belief is that demand in hospitals is predominantly for critical care medicine administered in injectible form, 60 per cent of the medicines sold to hospitals are actually to be taken orally.

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This does not bode well for India’s healthcare system at large. And it may be an early sign of a systemic policy failure.

An over reliance of specialist care is common in post Soviet countries.

The use of pharmaceuticals as a profit center within other structures of health delivery is now a recognized problem in China.

Any healthcare system in failure will direct patients to hospitals as primary care providers. This has long been the challenge in the USA.

India’s healthcare market is enormous, by all definitions. But for a country that has such a strong and positive history of rural deliverables and self-sufficiency, we wonder if it has met its match with the local nature of healthcare, and pharmaceuticals in particular…….HK

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On June 20, 2011

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