Availability of quality medicines at affordable prices for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged, was always a major concern for the Government of India. Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has been taking several regulatory and fiscal measures from time to time towards this objective.
A countrywide campaign for ensuring availability of generic medicines at affordable prices to all, a project in name “Jan Aushadhi” was initiated by the Department of Pharmaceuticals way back in 2008 as a direct market intervention strategy by opening Jan Aushadhi Stores in the country. As on date 111 Jan Aushadhi Stores are functioning spread over 19 States/UTs.
Lions Clubs International, today, has entered into an MOU with Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI), Government of India, for establishing Jan Aushadhi Stores (JAS) throughout the country. This novel project is for all, especially the poor and disadvantaged, said Mr. M.D. Sreekumar, CEO of BPPI.
Generic medicines and branded medicines are not two different products; it is one and the same. The difference is only the identity. Both generic medicines and branded medicines are same in dosage form, strength, quality and performance characteristics, and intended use.
Generic medicines are usually sold for significantly lower prices than their branded equivalents. One reason for the relatively low price of generic medicines is that competition increases among producers when medicines no longer are protected by patents or identified under unique name or brand. The generic medicines are having the same efficacy and therapeutic value as that of branded medicines.
Mr. Sreekumar added that 117 Jan Aushadi Stores are now functioning across India, out of which 25 have been opened during the current year. Another 200 JAS will be opened soon. BPPI is making all efforts to take the figure to 1000. Many states have now come forward to open JAS in Govt. Hospitals. Besides this, various NGOs and Trusts too like CSC (under Ministry of Communications), CISSIL (a Kerala based organization), Vignan Bharati, Dhan Foundation (Tamil Nadu), JSS in Karnataka have joined hands with BPPI to open Jan Aushadhi Stores in different states. BPPI is also bringing out Mobile Jan Aushadhi Stores soon.
The number of products has reached 400 and soon another 100 medicines and 150 surgical and consumables will be made available by next month. BPPI has also appointed C & F agents and distributors in various states to ensure timely supply of medicines.
Lions Clubs of India has been one of the forerunners when it comes to providing medical aid to people who do not have the means of undergoing expensive medical and/or surgical treatment.
Through various endeavors, Lions across the country have tirelessly attempted to medically assist the needy strata of the society. In India Lions Clubs operates or is associated with approximately 120 hospitals across the country and have shown support in several hospitals through up gradation of wards and purchase of equipments.
Lions Clubs annually hold several eye, diabetic and other medical camps in both rural and urban areas. They also provide free treatments to people in need.
As part of the MOU, Lions Clubs in India will start Jan Aushadhi Stores across all its hospitals and medical facilities to assist the underprivileged strata of the society.
Dr. Neville A. Mehta, on behalf of Lions Club International said that with the presence of Lions Hospitals across the country, the opening of the Jan Aushadhi Stores is bound to make a difference to the society as many cannot afford expensive medicines available in the market. These generic medicines available through Jan Aushadhi Stores will prove to be a boon to the underprivileged as well as to the society at large.