What should be the role of the government in financing the consumption of drugs? While the financing of all consumption by the government is neither possible nor desirable, does this mean that the government has no responsibility? The government should finance health care for the poorest part of the population in the name of national solidarity, and it should pay for the individual care that most improves the health of the population as a whole.
If a system of payment for drugs is to be introduced, one must identify who will put up the initial finance for revolving funds. External aid, national bodies such as cooperatives, or the government may provide these funds. However, even if the government decides not to fund consumption, it may still assume the duty to purchase those drugs that provide initial stocks.
Should the financing of drug consumption be organized in the same way as the financing of health care? Obtaining payment for drugs is easier than obtaining payment for care. Drugs are more easily identified as goods, demand for drugs is generally higher, and they often cost less than care, especially care in hospitals. The system used to finance drug consumption must be consistent with the system used to finance health care. A system of free outpatient care is no use if drugs have to be paid for, since this is likely to lead to prescriptions that are not dispensed or to hospitalization of patients simply because they are not able to pay for drugs.