Health Care in Crisis: Ensuring the Right to Medicine for Poor

Since January the price of drugs rose to 10%. However, the increase in the price of some drugs containing paracetamol at 43%. This increase occurred in various types of drugs, like antibiotics, vitamins, and cough medicine containing paracetamol. This increase makes residents worry is unable to pay medical expenses because not all drugs covered by the Government.

Rising drug prices in Indonesia led to a situation that is not beneficial for the poor. For example in Depok, about 14 private hospitals in Depok Municipality requesting increase in the cost of service. Chairman of the Private Hospital Association of Indonesia (ARSSI) Depok Syahril Amri said the increased cost of this service is in conformity with the needs of proportion.  By reading this news, reasonably suspected if the issue price of drugs that are not necessarily, in the end hinder people’s access to health services in general.

The rising drug prices should not be a problem if the universal coverage under the Act of the National Social Security System (SJSN) which has been approved since 2004 have been implemented. However the problem of access to essential medicine not only based on the level of peoples purchasing power. Estimated 90% of the raw materials produced in Indonesia must be imported through import. Indonesia import around 250 species of medicinal raw materials valued at Rp 6 trillion per year. Supply of raw materials imported Chinese dominated by 75%, India 20%, and the rest from Europe.  In 2011, the value of imports of raw materials is estimated to increase to Rp 9.59 trillion.

In the midst of economic crisis, which demand of generic drugs has increased, dependence on imported drugs, as experienced by Indonesia would jeopardize access to essential medicines in the future. Therefore, Indonesia should consider changing the strategy for providing access to essential medicines, of dependence on imports to a more self-reliant and not dependent on other countries.

Indonesia actually has adequate resources to build national drug industry. The question now, does the government want to pursue it? Reviews about the drug crisis earlier this year could be viewed from Yakkum Working Paper Series “Health Care in Crisis: Ensuring the Right to Medicine for Poor”.

Download Working Paper Series – Right to Medicine (en)