NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is revamping and relaunching the ‘Jan Aushadhi’ scheme that aims to make available quality medicines at affordable prices for all, especially the poor. The programme, run by the Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry, was launched in 2008 as a direct market intervention strategy to lower the prices of essential drugs.
While the original target of the campaign was to establish Jan Aushadhi Stores in every district of our country, only 112 stores could be opened by the end of March 2012. Despite efforts to gird up the programme, only 99 functional Jan Aushadhi stores could be opened in the country by the end of 2014-15. Late last year, the Union government decided to revamp the entire scheme to make it more effective. Accordingly, a new strategic action plan was prepared by the Chemical and Fertilisers Ministry.
However, sources said the revamping of the scheme could not be taken up last year following which the PMO stepped in and the process was fast-tracked in January this year. Under the revamped generic drugs scheme, now NGOs and individuals would be roped in to set up Jan Aushadhi stores. An amount of Rs 2.5 lakh shall be extended to NGOs, agencies and individuals for establishing generic drug stores on government hospital premises, where space is provided free of cost.
An amount of Rs 1 lakh would be provided for reimbursement of furniture and medical fixtures and Rs 1 lakh by way of free medicines in the beginning. Another Rs 50,000 would be given as reimbursement for equipment like computers. Jan Aushadhi stores, run by private entrepreneurs, pharmacists, NGOs and charitable organisations that are linked with BPPI headquarters through internet shall be extended an incentive up to Rs 1.5 lakh per month.
According to the plan, the government proposes to take the number of medicines and medical equipment provided in Jan Aushadhi stores to 1,000 by the end of March next year.
By the end of this fiscal, the Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI), which runs the scheme, wants to achieve a figure of 300 Jan Aushadhi Stores across the country. Thereafter an attempt shall be made to open at least one JAS in all the 543 Parliamentary constituencies in India .