Jan Aushadi yet to take-off in State

Conflict of interest, doctors reluctance to prescribe hurdles in implementation

Escalating cost of the healthcare system in India, coupled with inability to buy medicines has proved to be a matter of concern for the country's poor.

To tackle this problem, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) had launched “Jan Aushadhi” campaign in 2008, where people can avail themselves of non-branded generic medicines (manufactured by government-run pharmaceutical companies) at prices 10 to 25 per cent lower than the market price.

The campaign managed by Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI), which markets and supplies generic drugs through Jan Aushadhi stores is run in partnership with state governments, who provide space in district hospitals. Jan Aushadhi stores were first set up in Punjab in 2008, which was followed by Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Odissa, Uttarkhand and Andhra Pradesh.

Unfortunately, the campaign does not seem to have received much response in the Southern states. According to an official from BPPI, few NGOs and a private hospital had evinced interest in running Jan Aushadhi shop in 2008 (when the campaign was launched). The NGOs aimed at covering five districts. However, lack of response from the Karnataka government acted as a dampener, the official revealed.

“As it is a public welfare programme, the people should make good use of it. Even though we had recommended the shortlisted applicants to the  government, no space was allocated for the setting up of stores,” the official said.

Conflict of interests

The recent visit by DoP secretary to the City has kindled a ray of hope. The State Health Department is analysing the pros and cons about implementing the programme in K C General and Jayanagar General hospitals. However, it cannot be implemented in district and taluk hospitals, said Health Secretary Dr E V Ramana Reddy.

The main reason behind the non-implementation of the programme in the State is conflict of reasons, he added.

Other challenges facing the implementation of Jan Aushadhi scheme are doctors' reluctance in prescribing non-branded drugs and the misinformation spread by private chemists and druggists among the people.

Even though the price of drugs sold at Jan Aushadi stores are low, the efficacy remains as good as branded ones, said BPPI officials.

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