Free pharmacies and private health insurance partnerships: Maharashtra Health Minister Eknath Shinde at FPJ event

Mumbai: Maharashtra health minister Eknath Shinde urged private health insurance players to join hands with the government in order to offer healthcare cover to the untapped population of the state. He also added that the government is planning to start free-of-cost pharmacies.

Speaking at The Free Press Journal function ‘Health Insurance: Right diagnosis? Right prescription?’, minister Shinde said that in order to deal with lifestyle illnesses, almost 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres will be set up across the country.

He added that in Maharashtra around 121 such centres have been inaugurated and will benefit a lot of people. “Going forward, we will start ‘Balasaheb Thackeray pharmacy’ too,” informed Shinde.

Left to right: Nikhil Apte, Chief Product Officer, Royal Sundaram General Insurance Co Ltd; R N Bhaskar, Consulting Editor; Ashok Karnani, Director, Free Press Journal; A Velumani, Founder & CMD, Thyrocare Ltd; Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, CARE Ratings Ltd; Dr Rohit Sane, MD & CEO, Madhavbaug; Dr. Hiren Ambegaonkar, CEO, S L Raheja Hospital; Pravin Swamy, CEO, Godrej Hospital; Bhaskar Nerurkar, Head, Health Administration Team, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co Ltd and Abhishek Karnani, Director, Free Press Journal after the panel discussion.
Left to right: Nikhil Apte, Chief Product Officer, Royal Sundaram General Insurance Co Ltd; R N Bhaskar, Consulting Editor; Ashok Karnani, Director, Free Press Journal; A Velumani, Founder & CMD, Thyrocare Ltd; Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, CARE Ratings Ltd; Dr Rohit Sane, MD & CEO, Madhavbaug; Dr. Hiren Ambegaonkar, CEO, S L Raheja Hospital; Pravin Swamy, CEO, Godrej Hospital; Bhaskar Nerurkar, Head, Health Administration Team, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co Ltd and Abhishek Karnani, Director, Free Press Journal after the panel discussion.

He further said this pharmacy will give medicines for free, and which can be availed of by common people. “The government is trying to provide solutions to issues faced in healthcare, along with this the private players have to come forward too.”

According to Shinde, the government is doing what it can but there are limitations. “Here the private players should come forward to help.” Schemes like Ayushman Bharat and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY) have their limitations.

He believes private health insurance players can come in to remove these inadequacies. He reiterated that if private players adopt an inclusive approach, everyone will benefit. Adding further, he said there has been rise in cases of lifestyle illness among the population. He spoke of how the incidence of cancer has been increasing.

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