India calls for cross-border access to healthcare amid COVID-19

At a recent meeting with ministers from G20 countries, the Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal underlined the need to uphold multilateral commitments and for the creation of a global framework to enhance the affordable movement of medicines and healthcare professionals across national borders

March 31, 2020

Even in these trying times, India has been a dependable and affordable source of high quality medical and pharma products to nearly 190 countries

Open access is particularly important for developing countries and LDCs, as they are less likely to have the infrastructure and technical capability for this unprecedented pandemic

In the meeting, the international community was asked to step up cooperation and to lay the foundations for a strong recovery after the crisis tides over

The Union Government of India has allotted over US$1.9 billion to fight the pandemic and an economic stimulus package worth US$22.5 billion for low-income households

At a recent meeting with the Trade and Investment Ministers from G20 countries, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal, underlined the need to uphold multilateral commitments and improve their effectiveness to meet current challenges. To fight the current COVID-19 pandemic, India has called for the creation of a global framework to further enhance affordable access to medicines and to facilitate the easy movement of healthcare professionals across national borders.

Quoted in a release by the Press Information Bureau, Shri Goyal said that even in these trying times, India has been a dependable and affordable source of high quality medical and pharma products to nearly 190 countries. He also extended India’s support to frontline health professionals, sanitation workers, and essential service providers, adding that developing countries are particularly vulnerable, as they are less likely to have the infrastructure and technical capability for the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

The G20 countries and their partners have decided to keep their markets open to ensure smooth and continued operations of logistics networks. The meeting held through video-conferencing described the COVID-19 pandemic as a global challenge, requiring a coordinated global response. At the end of the meeting, the international community was asked to step up cooperation to protect human life and to lay the foundations for a strong economic recovery and a sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth after the crisis tides over.

Domestically, the Union Government has allotted US$1.9 billion for the ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’. The funds sanctioned will be partially utilized for immediate COVID-19 emergency responses, while the rest will be utilised for medium-term support (1-4 years) under the mission mode approach. The Government has also dedicated an economic stimulus package worth US$22.5 billion, designed to help millions of low-income households cope during the lockdown. Additionally, State Governments have declared varying packages to fight the pandemic. As part of international efforts, India has exported medical equipment and pharmaceuticals to multiple countries, most notably the United States of America and Serbia.