State govt launches free medicine scheme

Bhubaneswar: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik launched ‘Niramaya’ scheme at Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar yesterday. Under the scheme, 570 types of medicines will be provided free of cost to patients in all government hospitals in the State.

Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said the government has made a budgetary allocation of Rs 200 crore for the scheme. Initially, the scheme will cover three government-run medical colleges and hospitals and 30 district headquarter hospitals, besides Capital Hospital and Rourkela Government Hospital.

Later, it will be extended to hospitals at block level, sub-divisional and primary health centres. Also, the government would presently provide 272 types of medicines while the rest will be introduced at a later stage.

Distribution of the essential quality medicines would be done through procurement agency Odisha State Medical Corporation. Tertiary-level medicines for cancer and heart diseases will be part of the free drugs, Nayak added.