“Branded medicines are expensive because of the expenditure of the drug companies on promotion, marketing and doctors’ commission. The medicines available on ‘Janaushadhi’ centers are brought from WHO-certified pharmaceutical companies. These medicines are also examined in NBL lab. Subsequently, these generic medicines are dispatched to ‘Janaushadhi’ centers. To maintain the quality of these medicines, even godowns are built under the guidelines of WHO,” said Mansukh Mandaviya, MoS for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Chemicals & Fertilisers, in conversation with Ravi Mishra. Excerpts:
What initiatives have been taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in health sector?
Keeping health education in mind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has worked in four ways in this sector. These are: Preventive Healthcare, Affordable Healthcare, Supply Side Interventions, and Mission Mode Interventions.
We want that no poor in this country die without medicines or without any medical treatment. The important steps taken include: we have decreased the price of more than one thousand life-saving medicines and regulated the prices of stent and knee implants. For providing useful and low-priced generic medicines to the poor, more than 3500 generic medicine centers have been opened under ‘Pradhanmantri Janaushadhi Pariyojana,’ where more than 700 important medicines are available on 50-90 per cent lower prices than that in the market. Scheme like ‘Indradhanush’ has been initiated for vaccination. To provide medical treatment to the fellow Indians, the government has recently launched ‘Ayushman Bharat’–world’s largest health insurance, which will directly benefit 50 crore people in the country. No doubt, I can see the growth of health sector, at the present rate, will double in coming days.
What is ‘Janaushadhi’ scheme?
Janaushadhi scheme has been initiated by Chemical and Fertilizer Ministry. The main rational behind this scheme is to provide various life-saving medicines at a very low price. Under this scheme, generic centers are being opened up at block levels of every district.
How will you link up ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme with ‘Janaushadhi’ scheme?
‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme ensures 5 lakh rupees per year for health insurance to one family. Under this scheme, 10 crore families will get benefit. 1.5 lakh wellness centers will be opened up under this scheme. In this situation, ‘Janaushadhi’ centers will be means for low-priced necessary medicines. Prime Minister has taken the onus on himself to tackle the health problems of the poor people.
What is the present condition of ‘Janaushadhi’ scheme? In how many districts have ‘Janaushadi’ centers been opened up?
Under ‘Janaushadhi’ scheme, 3500 generic medicine centers have already been established in 600 districts of 33 states and union territories.
What is the procedure to start a ‘Janaushadhi’ center?
A pharmacist, a businessman, an NGO, a trust, a society, an institution or anyone who has 120 square feet of shop or a skilled pharmacist is eligible to open a ‘Janaushadhi’ center. To open a ‘Janaushadhi’ center, people can apply online on www.janaushadhi.gov.in. After applying for a ‘Janaushadhi’ centre, BPPI head office issues an in-principal approval letter. On its basis, to take drug license, one has to apply for drug licensing authority in the name of ‘Pradhan Mantri ‘Janaushadhi’ center. After getting the drug licence, medicines are supplied from BPPI.
How does the government help in opening a ‘Janaushadhi’ center?
2.5 lakh rupees of help is given by the government to run a ‘Janaushadhi’ center successfully, which depends on monthly sell. This amount can only be to the tune of Rs 10 thousand per month. It is continued by the government unless one gets Rs 2.5 lakh. Software and marketing resources are also provided for sell of medicines.
Will generic medicines be on fixed prices?
Prices of all the medicines available on ‘Janaushadhi’ centers are already fixed. It is printed on every medicine. It will be same at every centers of the country.
Why are these medicines so low-priced and what would you say about their quality?
Branded medicines are expensive because of the expenditure of the drug company on promotion, marketing and doctors’ commission and the medicines available at a ‘Janaushadhi’ center are brought from WHO-certified pharmaceutical companies. These medicines are also examined in NBL lab. Subsequently, these generic medicines are dispatched to ‘Janaushadhi’ centers. To maintain the quality of these medicines, even godowns are built under the guidelines of WHO.
Doctors often advise branded medicines to patients. What would you say about it?
‘Janaushadhi’ scheme will be successful only if doctors support it. I think we are getting a good response from doctors.
How will you connect ‘Janaushadhi’ scheme with start-up initiative?
I have already told you that any unemployed person, who has 120 square feet of shop, is eligible to start a ‘Janaushadhi’ center. If money requires the in initial period, then loan can be taken under ‘Mudra’ scheme.
How much money has been saved by patients under this scheme so far?
In financial year 2017-18, medicines to the tune of Rs140.84 crore were sold (sale at MRP) and if you compare it with branded medicines, it will be approximately 634 crores of rupees. Therefore, in the year 2017-18, we saved 493 crore rupees. This year’s saving will be more than Rs 1000 of crore.
Which categories of medicines are being sold on ‘Janaushadhi’ centers?
Under this scheme, we have included 23 categories of necessary medicines, for instance, diabetes, blood pressure, gastro, cancer, allergy etc. We are fully commited to providing all categories of medicines available in the market.
The government has decreased the price of stent and ‘knee implant’. How are people getting benefits of this?
The government has fixed the maximum price of a bare metal stent at Rs 7260 and that of a drug-eluting stent at Rs 29,600. Due to this, a total of Rs 4450 crore have been saved. The government has reduced 70 per cent price of knee implant, which has saved Rs 1500 crore of people.