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Jan Aushadhi Diwas: Centre expands plans for access to medicines

Jan Aushadhi concept.The Centre will add 2,500 Jan Aushadhi stores to its existing stock by 2020 – with the eventual aim of one store for every block.

Jan Aushadhi stores are special kendras (centres) opened under the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pari Yojana Kendra (PMBJPK) initiative, which seeks to expand access to medicines. These  centres exclusively sell generics. Plans to upscale the number of such stores will come as a boon for India’s generic drugs industry, which enjoy the lion’s share of the pharmaceutical sector in the country.

Despite this, out-of-pocket spending continues to be a major concern for many Indians. As of 2017, almost two thirds of healthcare expenditure in India is borne out of pocket by the patient. Much of this gets spent on medicines, lending impetus to efforts to expand access to cheaper medicines.

“5,050 Jan Aushadhi kendras are operational nationwide, spanning 652 districts”

To promote PMBJPK and enhance awareness of generics, today will be celebrated as Jan Aushadhi Diwas nationwide. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to make an address via video conference at 1 p.m. IST and will interact with beneficiaries of the scheme and proprietors of Jan Aushadhi kendras.

The Centre claims much success with PMBJPK. In a press conference in New Delhi, Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya claimed 5,050 Jan Aushadhi kendras are operational nationwide, spanning 652 districts.

“Health is one sector which is on priority of our government,” Mandaviya stated in his remarks. “Government is continuously working to provide affordable treatment and medicines at cheaper prices. Today if a patient starts his/her treatment, seventy percent of money goes on buying medicines.”

The Minister added that Jan Aushadhi stores service between ten and fifteen lakh people everyday and extolled the benefits of the medicines sold there. He noted, they can be up to ninety percent cheaper than the market price of the same medicines.

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