The central government has decided to provide free generic drugs at all public health facilities from April 2012 to reduce the financial burden on patients.
While inaugurating the day-long National Consultation on Social Determinants of Health, Azad reaffirmed that the central government is committed to meet and overcome the challenge of addressing social inequities.
"In an attempt to provide universal healthcare, steps would be taken to provide free generic drugs at all public health facilities in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) for reducing financial burden on patients," said Azad.
He said that the Commission on Social Determinants of Health has outlined that unequal distribution of health damaging experiences are perpetuated by a combination of poor social policies and programmes and unfair economic arrangements, globally and nationally.
"If it means investing more for the poorer segments of society, we shall do it; if it means challenging the biases against the marginalised segments of society, we shall do it; if it means ensuring better integration of different development programmes, we shall do it; and if it means reducing out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare for the people who cannot afford it, we shall do it," he said.