BENGALURU: It’s been two years since the state government signed an MoU with HLL Lifecare Ltd, a central government enterprise, to set up generic drug stores in 40 hospitals across Karnataka. The poor were supposed to benefit from these, as the drugs were to be made available at rates 50- 60 per cent lesser than what is available in the market. But only eight stores are operational so far.
Principal Secretary to the Health Minister, Shalini Rajneesh said, “Though two years have elapsed, HLL has failed to operationalise all the outlets for one reason or the other. We have reported this to the Union health secretary. Now that we have decided to start Jan Aushadi stores in all hospitals, people will prefer buying drugs wherever they are cheaper.”
HLL is a central public sector undertaking under direct administrative control of the Union health ministry. Bengaluru was supposed to get 12 generic drug stores, Mysuru two, Dharwad two and the rest of the districts one each.
Manjunath, joint director, medical, Department of Health and Family Welfare, said, “The medical superintendents of respective hospitals were given the responsibility of monitoring the prices and they have given us the MRP list and the selling price list. It is 50 per cent to 60 per cent lesser than MRP. However, the other stores are at various stages of construction and since there is no time period in the MoU within which they were supposed to finish the construction, all 40 haven’t been operational yet.”
The state government had agreed to allot rent-free space to HLL for setting up, running and maintaining Jana Sanjivini stores. HLL, on its part, had agreed to provide generic medicines, surgical implants and consumables required by the hospitals. It was required to obtain drug licence, recruit and engage qualified pharmacists for managing the stores with latest software. Repeated calls and emails to HLL Lifecare went unanswered.
About 200 generic drug outlets are going to be set up in Karnataka under the Jan Aushadhi scheme of the central government that was launched on October 2. Of these, 168 would be set up in district and taluk hospitals, while 32 will be set up in community health centres. Around 580 varieties of generic medicines will be supplied to each store.
The Union government has sanctioned Rs 2.5 lakh for starting each store.