Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadi Kendras

Addressing the problem of high prices of most of the medicines and therefore non availability of affordable and quality generic medicines across all the healthcare institutions in Jammu and Kashmir as also generate enough awareness about the entire gamut , certain steps were proposed to be taken by the Government. Among those at the top were opening of Jan Aushadi Kendras in as many as 3500 Government Hospitals wherein services of existing pharmaceutics in the Government health sector had to be actively utilised . To give a practical shape to this much needed measure , to start with , a target of 1000 such Kendras was set to be opened by March this year under the flagship scheme of the Health and Medical Education Department. This was decided while reviewing the flagship schemes of the Health Department in October last year by the UT Chief Secretary. This was followed even by a reminder to this effect wherein revised guidelines were incorporated about opening of these Kendras by the Medical Department in November last year . Why, therefore, there should not be an air of enthusiasm in respect of opening of these Kendras and again, should this scheme not be seen in the context of generating some sort and magnitude of employment opportunities too in the UT?
However, on assessment of the progress in respect of the target of 1000 kendras set for March this year is unlikely to be met due to host of reasons which land covertly at the gates of the entrepreneurs and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). The fact of the matter, to be precise, is that not even one Kendra has been opened so far. The reasons need to be known as it points towards a deliberate move to thwart the proposed measures by the Government in arranging to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to people through such dedicated outlets. Without mincing words, it denotes that the said applecart is wilfully attempted to be upset by those who had to show very active response to the advertisements for inviting applications from the desirous entrepreneurs as also NGOs in respect of opening of such outlets. Could it be taken that, perhaps, enough margin by way of profits is not found in starting such Kendras as usually it is believed inherent in medicines sold otherwise on retail in markets? If this is the type of response to such a noble objective, how can the masses, especially the poor, have access to these medicines is the moot question.
It is to be noted that the generic medicines are in no way less effective but have the same efficacy and therapeutic value as the branded medicines are and by taking such medicines , patients not only get treated well but money expended on medicines too is saved by them . On the front of testing of such medicines, empanelled laboratories duly test them and only then, are distributed to Aushadi Kendras through a well distribution network. The elasticity so far as the eligibility criteria is concerned, with the proviso of the mandatory utilisation of the services of a registered pharmacist for operating of these Kendras, goes to the extent of utilization of the services of the Government pharmaceutics who may be on deputation basis or even on ”attachment ” basis . For that matter, even a pharmacist registered with the Pharmacy Council of J&K is eligible so much so, that even Doctors and Medical Practitioners are eligible to apply. The question, therefore, arises as to why “things” are not being got done.
Should there be provisions of more relaxation of the requisite guidelines , terms and conditions for setting up of these Aushadi Kendras in the UT? Should , some incentives also be tagged with these Kendras like crossing a limit of sales turnover and the like? Should other options of even total intervention in and full management of the Kendras be not explored by the UT Government Health and Medical Education Department ?