9 May 2012

India Netherlands Discuss Health issues of Mutual Interest

The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, Government of Netherlands Mrs. Edith Schippers called upon the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad in New Delhi today. The two Ministers discussed issues pertaining to strengthening bilateral cooperation particularly in public health; responsible use of antibiotics to reduce threat of Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR) and drug regulatory mechanisms.

Welcoming the Minister and members of her delegation, Shri Azad noted that Mrs Schippers being a Masters degree holder in Political Science from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, is no stranger to India. He said India and Netherlands have much to learn from each other. “I appreciate your interest in the Indian experience in the field of innovation in health care service delivery, interventions in making health care affordable and our strength in producing good quality generic drugs at affordable prices” he added. Shri Azad informed that India is the fourth largest producer of pharmaceuticals in the world in terms of volume and 13th largest in terms of value. Indian pharmaceutical products are exported to almost all the countries of the world. The total export from India for the year 2010-11 was more than 10 billion US dollars. Shri Azad elaborated that supply of meningococcal vaccine by India has saved hundreds and thousands of lives in low & middle income African countries. Indian generic drugs have also helped in bringing down the cost of treatment of various diseases world-wide, including HIV/AIDS. India's effort in making quality medicines affordable for the entire world, has been acknowledged at many a multilateral fora, Shri Azad stated. 

Mrs. Edith Schippers informed that Netherlands currently spends 13% of their GDP on health expenditure which amounts to 65 billion Euros on a population of 16 million. She said in the backdrop of global concern on AMR, bilateral cooperation on exchange of information and expertise is needed. She invited Shri Azad to participate in the Ministerial Conference on responsible use of medicines, particularly antibiotics, being organized by Government of Netherlands in October 2012. 

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