Jan Aushadhi Yojana
High quality medicines at low prices! Doesn’t that sound like hunting for the fabled Philosopher’s Stone? It is really hard to believe that this combination is possible but with Jan Aushadhi Yojana (JAY) launched on July 1, 2015, Government of India’s Department of Pharmaceuticals has unleashed the magical homunculus. Under this scheme, Indian citizens will have access to high quality generic medicines are prices lower that the current market price for competing products from well-known brands.
So, here are a few questions that immediately popup and require proper explanation:
- What are generic medicines?
- Who will produce these medicines?
- How are these medicines distributed?
- What type of medicines will be covered?
There are many questions like these. Let us pick up one question at a time and find the answers!
What are generic medicines?
Generic medicines refer to those drugs that are not branded. In other words, these medicines will not have brand names like Sun Pharma, Intas etc. These generic medicines will not be produced by multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical firms.
Will these generic medicines be effective?
Over centuries, capitalism has hardwired our brains into thinking that anything that’s expensive is better in quality. This is true even for medicines. But, this is only a myth. Experts say that cheaper medicines are equally effective in dealing with diseases as their expensive counterparts. The same assurance comes from government too.
Who will be responsible for quality control of these medicines?
There is a mounting concern about fake medicines making their way into the market. To deal with this government has put forward strict quality guidelines for these generic medicines. All generic medicines that are and will be made available under the Jan Aushadhi Yojana need to pass NABL certification. Unless and until that happens, generic medicines will not make it to the shelves of pharmacies.
Who will be producing these medicines?
Government won’t be manufacturing these medicines. Instead, these generic medicines will be procured from public as well as private manufacturers. The procured medicines will be put through quality testing and then rebranded as ‘Jan Aushadhi’.
Who is responsible for implementation of the scheme?
The government has formulated The Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India (abbreviated as BPPI). It is a nodal agency working directly under the Department of Pharmaceuticals. The whole operation will be implemented and monitored by BPPI.
What type of medicines will be made available under JAY?
Also, medicines used for treatment of ailments like gastroenterology diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases and cardiovascular disease. Essentially, government has identified 361 different types of drugs based on the overall sales and then narrowed down on the medicines produced using these drugs. These 361 drugs cover nearly all therapeutic categories. Government officials say that over time, more drugs and more medicines will be included in the Jan Aushadhi Yojana.
Which pharmacies will be selling these generic medicines?
Medicines under Jan Aushadhi Yojana will be sold only through Jan Aushadhi Store. A number of these stores are already function. Here is a quick list summing up the total number of operational stores in various parts of the country:
|Uttar Pradesh||1 store|
|Madhya Pradesh||5 stores|
|Jammu & Kashmir||8 stores|
|Himachal Pradesh||10 stores|
To find the details of these stores and the contact person, visit this link. Government has confirmed that more stores will be opened across the country and in all states by the end of this year.
How is government selecting the stores?
Government is not selecting any store in particular. Rather, government is encouraging people or organizations to open new stores. There are specific requirements that must be fulfilled for opening a new store. These requirements are mentioned below:
- Applicants need to own a place for opening a store. The available place should have a minimum space of 120 sq. ft.
- Applicants need to have a Retail Drug License and an active TIN (Tax-Payer Identification Number).
- Applicants either need to have a certified pharmacist employed or they themselves should be pharmacists. If the applicants are pharmacists, they should be unemployed. If they are hiring a pharmacist, the State Council and the license registration number should be included in the application form.
- Applicants need to have updated and audited account for last 3 years and they need to produce their bank statements and sales return for last 3 years.
Will there be financial aid from government for individuals willing to open Jan Aushadhi Store?
Yes, individuals who want to open Jan Aushadhi Stores will receive financial aid from government provided they fulfill the aforementioned requirements. Store owners will receive financial assistance of up to ₹ 200,000. Additionally, government will also provide ₹ 50,000 extra for hardware infrastructure purchase.
How much cheaper can people expect the medicines to be?
Under the Jan Aushadhi Yojana, prices of generic medicines will be way cheaper than their expensive counterparts. Prices can be anywhere between 3 to 14 times lower than the usual market rates. A quick comparison of some medicines can be found here. A complete pricelist for Jan Aushadhi medicines can be found here.