Free Medicines for Poor in Rural Areas


In the government health care delivery system, the treatment of diseases is either free or subsidized for the poor and needy patients.Under the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), the drugs are provided free of costs to all TB patients.

Under National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) financial assistance up to Rs.1.00 lakh for chemotherapy drugs is provided to treat up to 100 patients in a district.

Financial assistance is also provided to poor patients as under:
Health Minister’s Discretionary Grant (HMDG)

Poor patients with family income less than Rs.1,00,000/- annually and suffering from major illness and requiring one-time treatment in Government hospitals/institutions are eligible for financial assistance under HMDG. Financial assistance limits are –  (i)  Rs.50,000/-  if the estimated cost of treatment is up to Rs. 1,00,000/- ; (ii) Rs. 75,000/- if the estimated cost of treatment is above Rs. 1,00,000/- & up to Rs. 1,50,000/-; and (iii) Rs.1,00,000/- if the estimated cost of treatment is above Rs.1,50,000/-.

Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) under RAN

Financial assistance is provided to patients, below poverty line suffering from Cancer and undergoing treatment in any of the 27 Regional Cancer Centres.

The financial assistance to the Cancer Patient up to Rs.1,00,000/- (Rs. One lakh only) is processed by the Institute /Hospitals concerned through the revolving fund placed at their disposal.  The cases of financial assistance above this limit are to be referred by the Hospitals for assistance from Central Funds.

Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) ie. National Illness Assistance Fund (NIAF)

The financial assistance is provided to the patients living Below Poverty Line (BPL), who are suffering from major life threatening disease to receive medical treatment in Government hospitals. The financial assistance to such patients is released in the form of ‘one time grant’ to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital in which the treatment is being received.

Under the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), the private hospitals are now expected to provide information to the Government about the TB patients being treated by them.  Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) seeks information from all the States and UTs regarding the patients suffering from severe diseases like cancer, diabetes etc. being treated at Government as well as Private Hospitals.

The above information was given by the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.

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