Public health activists expressed dismay and outrage at the central government’s decision to scrap the idea of a centrally supported free drug scheme. The scheme was initiated after several studies had shown that medicines constitute about 67% of people’s expenditure on healthcare. After several meetings with public health activists over the past several months to draw up a list of essential medicines to be supplied through the free medicines scheme, the government’s sudden decision to wind up the scheme itself has drawn widespread criticism.

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