Health-conscious Malayalees spend a lot on medicine – The New Indian Express

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Express press service

KOCHI: Recently, during Question Time in the Lok Sabha, the Union Health Minister produced data showing the per capita spending on medicines in the country.

The data showed that out-of-pocket expenditure per capita for prescribed and over-the-counter drugs was very high in Kerala compared to other states. According to National Health Accounts (NHA) estimates, per capita out-of-pocket expenditure for prescribed drugs was Rs 2,270 and for over-the-counter drugs was Rs 297.

But what is the reason? According to Dr. Samuel Koshy, the state chairman of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), there are many reasons. “The very first is that Keralites are very health conscious. We tend to rush to the hospital even if we sneeze,” he said.

When it comes to health, Keralites never take risks, he added. “If education and health are taken together, it can be seen that the Keralites will easily put health first, then education. Education also plays a role. People here are more aware of the consequences of procrastination on their health. We prioritize health,” he said. Another reason, he says, could be the Keralites’ preference for specialized treatment.

“In the past, people may have tried to solve their health problems by first trying traditional medicines and then opting for allopathic treatment. However, today people tend to seek specialists directly and they don’t care about the cost,” Dr Samuel said. He cited an increase in lifestyle diseases in the state as another reason for the increase in drug spending.

“Diseases like diabetes and obesity have become very common. It should be noted that in the case of diabetes, the patient must take medication for his entire life. Then come the associated health issues which also require the help of medication,” Dr. Samuel said. According to Dr. NK Sanil Kumar, Department of Urology, Lisie Hospital, another reason for the increase in expenses is the ease of access to health facilities.

“Unlike in the northern states of India, people in rural areas also have access to very good modern health facilities. For example, a person visiting a nearby town can go to a clinic to have their health checked. Once this happens, the drugs, if prescribed, will be purchased, as well as an unforeseen expense will occur,” he added.

Another factor, according to Dr. Samuel, is the ease of access to medication. “We have medical stores almost everywhere. People don’t have to travel very far to buy drugs, whether prescribed or over-the-counter,” he said.

This reasoning was supported by OR Murugan, a drug wholesaler in Ernakulam. “Over the past two years, the number of medical stores in the state has doubled,” he said. COVID also played a big role, he added.

According to him, even while other sectors suffered huge losses, the pharmacy was safe and stable.

KOCHI: Recently, during Question Time in the Lok Sabha, the Union Health Minister produced data showing the per capita spending on medicines in the country. The data showed that out-of-pocket expenditure per capita for prescribed and over-the-counter drugs was very high in Kerala compared to other states. According to National Health Accounts (NHA) estimates, per capita out-of-pocket expenditure for prescribed drugs was Rs 2,270 and for over-the-counter drugs was Rs 297. But what is the reason? According to Dr. Samuel Koshy, the state chairman of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), there are many reasons. “The very first is that Keralites are very health conscious. We tend to rush to the hospital even if we sneeze,” he said. When it comes to health, Keralites never take risks , he added. “If education and health are taken together, it can be seen that the Keralites will easily put health first and then education. Education also plays a role. People here are more aware of the consequences of procrastination on their health. We put health first,” he said. Another reason, he said, could be Keralites’ preference for specialized treatment. “In the past, people may have tried to solve their health problems by first trying traditional medicines and then opting for allopathic treatment.However, today people tend to seek specialists directly and they don’t care cost,” Dr. Samuel said. He cited an increase in lifestyle diseases in the state as another reason for the increase in drug spending. “Diseases like diabetes and obesity have become very common. It should be noted that in the case of diabetes, the patient must take medication for his entire life. Then come the associated health issues which also require the help of medication,” Dr. Samuel said. According to Dr. NK Sanil Kumar, Department of Urology, Lisie Hospital, another reason for the increase in expenses is the ease of access to health facilities. “Unlike in the northern states of India, people in rural areas also have access to very good modern health facilities. For example, a person visiting a nearby town can go to a clinic to have their health checked. Once this happens, the drugs, if prescribed, will be purchased, as well as an unforeseen expense will occur,” he added. Another factor, according to Dr. Samuel, is the ease of access to medication. “We have medical stores almost everywhere. People don’t have to travel very far to buy drugs, whether prescribed or over-the-counter,” he said. This reasoning was supported by OR Murugan, a drug wholesaler in Ernakulam. “Over the past two years, the number of medical stores in the state has doubled,” he said. COVID also played a big role, he added. According to him, even while other sectors suffered huge losses, the pharmacy was safe and stable.

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