#PolicyExplainer: This govt scheme provides quality medicines at low cost
Healthcare is one of India's biggest industries yet over 60% of people in the country lack access to modern healthcare, with the unavailability of affordable medicines being a major contributor. Hence, to provide access to low-cost medication, the NDA government launched "Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana" under which quality medicines are supplied through special "Kendras" (centers) at affordable prices. Here's all about the initiative.
What exactly is Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana?
The Jan Aushadhi scheme was initially launched by Congress-led UPA government in 2008. However, it failed to take off due to various factors. After NDA came to power it re-launched the campaign as "Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana" in Sep'15 and renamed it to "Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana" in Nov'16. Affordable medicines are provided through Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras across India.
There are drugs for acute as well as chronic diseases
The govt scheme brought down the prices of medicines drastically. People can buy quality drugs at much affordable prices at dedicated centers that sell generic (unbranded) medicines, which are available at very low prices compared to branded drugs. Also, they are equivalent to the branded medicines in terms of quality and efficacy. People have access to nearly 700 medicines and over 130 surgical/consumable products.
A little about the Janaushadhi Kendras
There are as many as 3,600 Janaushadhi Kendras (JAK) operating in the country (as of Jun'18). These centers are open from 8 am to 8 pm and sell therapeutic medicines, surgical items, and allied medical items. People can buy OTC (over-the-counter) products at the Kendras without a prescription. However, for purchasing schedule drugs, they have to provide a prescription from a registered medical practitioner.
How is the quality of generic medicines tested before supply?
Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India (BPPI), established under Department of Pharmaceuticals, oversees the process of procurement, supply, and marketing of generic medicines in Janaushadhi stores with the help of CPSUs. BPPI tests each batch of every procured drug procured from CPSUs (Central Public Sector Undertakings) or private suppliers to ensure safety, quality, and efficacy of the medicines before sending to stores.
You can apply for a Janaushadhi Kendra, too
While the Janaushadhi scheme is extremely beneficial for the public, one can also open a Janaushadhi Kendras. Any state government, reputed NGO, private hospital, trust, charity, unemployed pharmacist, and individual entrepreneur can apply for new Kendras online on the scheme's official website or offline, too. However, the applicants must also employ at least one BPharma/DPharma degree holder as a pharmacist for the store.
Benefits provided to Janaushadhi Kendra operators
The government provides space for establishing Janaushadi stores free of cost to individuals, agencies, and NGOs establishing the centers in government hospital premises. Also, a one-time financial assistance of up to Rs. 2.5 lakh is provided to the store owners among various other benefits.