Generic and other medicines at affordable prices

Pradhan Mantri Bharti Jan – Aushadhi Pariyojna (PMBJAP) launched by Prime Minister Narindra Modi in the year 2016 modifying the earlier scheme to make it more utility oriented and accessible by the economically weaker sections of the people has, among other things, provision for providing of free space in Government hospitals and other medical institutions throughout the country for setting up of exclusive sale outlets. These outlets are called as “Jan Aushadhi Medical Stores”. The idea is both noble as well as much desired in respect of providing generic medicines of quality and efficacy of equal strength as of expensive branded drugs otherwise available in market. If throughout the country , this scheme is implemented in totality with no violations whatsoever, why should the State of Jammu and Kashmir allegedly either not implement the scheme wholeheartedly or formulate a policy which was in violation of the basics of the scheme?
It may be noted, that the main task to be undertaken by the State Government in respect of the implementation of the scheme is to identify, arrange as also to provide space for setting up of sale outlets or shops as near as possible , preferably within the premises of the hospitals itself so that not only the patients admitted in the hospitals got medicines from these shops but anyone desirous to purchase the same, could get those easily. As expected , under the central scheme, the State medical department should have complied with this basic provision in the interests of the economically weaker sections and the general public too by ensuring that such shops were opened without any hassles. If it had been so, there would have been no case against the State Government filed in the High Court which has directed the Health Department to convene a meeting in order to find out the specifics of the violation of the scheme .It has been observed that there are some vested interests totally extraneous to the kernel of the scheme, pursued by the State Government, details of which have been submitted to the court by the petitioner.
There are certain points regarding the entire issue which give room for speculations and even allegations that some private chemists could be wielding considerable influence vis-a-vis the State medical department fearing drop in the sales turnover of the medicines of select brands where profit margin was considerable, if the said Central Scheme was implemented honestly and strictly as per its provisions, regardless of the fact whether those generic medicines were prescribed by the attending Doctors or not as other general medicines too were to be sold on these shops with slashed prices to the tune of 15 to 20 percent. We, as a State, cannot claim that medical facilities were adequate though as compared to many States, the position was not only comparatively better but quality treatment free of cost was available at Government hospitals. However, the position as regards our rural and semi urban areas was continuing to be unsatisfactory hence the importance of the PMBJAP.
We also know that although there was a provision of availability of medicines right from the hospitals itself free of cost , practically that was more on books and papers instead of being a reality and, therefore, making the Pradhan Mantri Bharti Jan Aushadhi Pariyojna a success would address that problem to a larger extent. The financial assistance from the Central Government for promoting such sales outlets are really very encouraging with special provisions for the SC/ST and differently abled persons. The Division Bench has, therefore, directed the State Government to reserve the space within the Government hospitals at all levels in the State for the said purpose. We feel the directives of the court would scrupulously be followed so that quality drugs at affordable prices through these outlets are sold along with generic medicines at more lesser prices but at par in quality, strength and efficacy as of expensive branded drugs.