National Drug Authority to be set up on lines of TRAI: Ramadoss
Ahmedabad, Mar 20 (UNI) In order to strengthen the system of clinical trials and ensure safety norms for drugs in the country, the government is planning to set a regulatory National Drug Authority (NDA), on the lines of the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), Union Health Minister Dr A Ramadoss today said.
He said, ''It will be an autonomous body like the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and comprise professionals. An amount of Rs 360 crore will be spent on its capacity-building.'' The Ministry has already prepared a Cabinet note on this, which is under consideration. The authority may start functioning in another 18 months, he said.
He was addressing a gathering at the Indian Institute of Management here, after inaugurating the first management consultation on health care in India.
He also said a team of USFDA will be coming to India in May for consultations in this regard.
He said the Government is planning to set up Indian Institute of Health, on the lines of Indian Institute of Management, to provide better health care management, train human resources and carry out research and development.
The Government will also set up public health schools for district authorities to strengthen the management of health care delivery in the country, he added.
''To start with, two such institutions are to be set up one in North and one in South with an outlay of Rs 100 crores. The funding could be a combination of public/private partnership,'' he said.
In order to give a fillip to medical tourism in the country, the Minister said, his ministry is pursuing with the Civil Aviation ministry to relax norms for those wanting to come to India for medical treatment.
With grant of 'medical visas', he said the immigration rules and other checks can be relaxed so that the patients can go to the hospitals within minutes of arrival in the country. ''Previously, Indians used to go abroad for treatment, but now the trend is reversed. People from West, East and Africa are opting to come here as we have the best doctors, facilities and that too at a very low cost.'' Commenting on the skewed structure of health care infrastructure, Dr Ramadoss said, ''Out of 242 medical schools in India, as many as 152 of them are in only six States. This must change.'' He said at least Rs 6,500 crore has been spent on the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), which focuses on reducing infant mortality and maternal mortality. Its outlay will be reaised to Rs 8,000 crore next fiscal, he added.
''Unfortunately, we do not have a strong public sector. Just 20 per cent of the health infrastructure in the country is in this sector, while 80 per cent is in the private domain. Significant portion of health expenditure (5.4 per cent) is on private sector and just 0.9 per cent on public health sector,'' he said.
The policy makers, academicians, practitioners, administrators and members of industries associated and involved with healthcare are participating in the five-day consultation, which was inaugurated today.
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