Policy Matter

Strategy for Handling Genetically Transmitted Cancer Disease

Cancer can be diagnosed and treated at various levels in the government health care system. The data for medical infrastructure and the quantum of shortage of specialists for Cancer treatment is not centrally maintained. The number of teletherapy machinecancer in the country is less than the norms of World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Government of India has approved a scheme for enhancing the Tertiary Care Cancer facilities in the country. Under this scheme, the Government of India will assist 20 State Cancer Institutes (SCI) and 50 Tertiary Care Cancer Centres (TCCC) in different parts of the country. Oncology in its various aspects has focus in case of new AIIMS and many upgraded institutions under the PradhanMantriSwasthyaSurakshaYojna (PMSSY). Setting up of the National Cancer Institute at Jhajjar (Haryana) and 2nd campus of the Chittranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata has been approved.

The Government of India had launched a comprehensive National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS) in 2010 with focus on 3 types of cancer namely breast, cervical and oral cancer. From 2013-14 onwards, interventions under NPCDCS for prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, which can be taken up upto district level, have been brought under the umbrella of National Health Mission (NHM).

The treatment in government hospitals is either free or subsidized. In addition to cancer diagnosis and treatment by the state governments health institutes, the central government institutions such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Safdurjung Hospital, Dr Ram ManoharLohia Hospital, PGIMER Chandigarh, JIPMER Puducherry, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata, etc. provide facilities for diagnosing and treatment of Cancer.

The list of medicines specified in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) which are included in the First Schedule of Drug Pricing Control Order (DPCO), 2013 also contain drugs used for the treatment of cancer. 489 NLEM (drug formulations) medicines for which ceiling prices have been notified under DPCO, 2013, include 47 anti-Cancer medicines. No person is authorized to sell any such formulation to any consumer at a price exceeding the ceiling price fixed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

Financial assistance to Below Poverty Line (BPL) patients is available under the RashtriyaArogyaNidhi (RAN). Besides this, the Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) within the RashtriyaArogyaNidhi has been set up in 2009 where in 27 erstwhile Regional Cancer Centres (RCCs) are provided with revolving funds to provide immediate financial assistance upto Rs.2.00 lakh to BPL cancer patients.

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