Nearly 70 million people have benefitted from Rajasthan's free medicine scheme, which was launched by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot a year
ago on Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary.
"Two lakh (200,000) people take advantage of this
scheme every day. Some patients have benefitted more than once. They are being
given free essential medicines at 15,355 medicine distribution centers and in
all the government hospitals," a senior official said.
Rajasthan has a population of 68.6 million people, and is
the first to run the free medicine scheme on such a large scale, the official
"In the second year of the scheme, the state government
has allocated Rs.300 crore. The chief minister has also directed that the
number of distribution centers and the medicines being given under the scheme
also be increased."
Nearly 400 types of generic drugs and surgical items are
available for free distribution under the existing scheme. These drugs are
provided free of charge to patients at primary healthcare centers, community
healthcare centers, district hospitals and medical colleges, officials said.
Apart from the free medicine, the government is also
planning to make free diagnostic tests at the hospitals run by it.
Chief Minister Gehlot has already assured that there would
not be any problem in financing any health-related scheme. "If the people
are given free medicines and good care, their trust in government hospitals
will increase," the chief minister said recently.
Addressing a workshop recently, he also said that the
results of the scheme were very encouraging and the central government was
planning to implement the scheme across the country based on the success of the
The number of patients visiting government-run hospitals has
gone by up by almost 50 percent in the last one year, largely due to the free
medicine scheme. The chief minister also recently launched a helpline to prove
information about the scheme.
"Every member of the society is eligible. The poor are
given priority. Persons below the poverty line and weaker sections can shed
their worries over healthcare expenses," a health department official
The scheme was officially launched Oct 2, 2011 on Mahatma
Gandhi's 142nd birth anniversary.