Home Knowledge Path to Progress... PradhanMantri JanAushadhi Yojna

Path to Progress... PradhanMantri JanAushadhi Yojna

by Madhavi Mihir Bhuta (National Executive Member, BJP Mahila Morcha)
Jun 23, 2020

After 65+ years of getting independence from British rule, Medical field is one sector that has been ignored and underdeveloped. 

With saying so, I do not mean that  there were not many medical institutions or hospitals established. The real problem that larger section of people faced was its unaffordability for common man. Lack of inexpensive updated medical infrastructure and medicines rendered health sector to be prerogative of affluent class. Poor and deprived class hardly had access to it.

The growth machine nurtured since independence ignited inequal parameters even in sectors of basic essentials. If a single person in family became victim of any deadly diseases, the cost of living for the family would be shattering as there was no affordable medical insurance available. 

After the advent of NDA Government in 2014, Hon. Prime Minister introduced the JanAushadhi Scheme as PradhanMantri JanAushadhi Yojna (PM JAY)in September 2015. 

The motive behind launching PM JAY, was making quality medicines available at affordable prices, for all, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, through exclusive outlets ‘JanAushadhi Medical Store’, reducing the pocket expense in healthcare.

Later, in November 2016,to give further impetus to this scheme, it was renamed as “PradhanMantri Bharatiya JanAushadhi Pariyojna”.( PMBJP)

PMBJP is launched by Department of Pharmaceuticals, under BPPI (Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India), under the administration control of Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.

Under PMBJP, PradhanMantri Bharatiya JanAushadhi Kendra’s (PMBJK) are set up across the country so as to reduce the out of pocket expenses for the health care.

The procured generic medicines are sold at 50 % to 90 % lesser prices as compared to the market price of branded medicines.

All drugs procured under this scheme are tested for quality assurance at NABL (National Accreditation Board Laboratories) accredited laboratories and is compliant with WHO GMP (World Health Organisation’s Good Manufacturing Practices) benchmarks.
Government provides grants up to 2.5 Lakhs for setting up of PMBJKs.

They can be set up by doctors, pharmacists, entrepreneurs, Self Help groups, NGOs, Charitable Societies etc. at any suitable place or outside the hospital premises.

To expand the reach of JanAushadhi Scheme, Modi Government has zeroed 127 locations around the railway stations, to open Generic medicine stores, which would be in the vicinity of railway hospitals, approachable for the general public living around.

Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi has given a new lease of life to huge population who would have to succumb to deeper health deterioration in absence of affordable medicinal help.

From 2014 to 2017, 636 medicines and 132 surgical/consumable items have been brought under the scheme.

These drugs are for acute as well as chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer and Asthma.

The therapeutic category basket of the scheme was incomplete earlier. Now, the basket covers all 23 major therapeutic categories such as anti-infective, anti-diabetics, cardiovascular, anti cancer and gastric-intestinal.

Manufacturing of Generic Medicines has not remained confined solely to PSUs or has not been monopolised. Under NDA Government ‘s rule, 125 suppliers, certified under the WHO’s Good Manufacturing Practise (GMP) are also part of the scheme.

Modi Government has put cap on prices of Stent and Knee implants after they were lowered by more than 50 %.
Implementing this scheme has led to saving of Rs. 1000 Crores for common public.

Narendra Modiji being Son of the soul, has witnessed the hardship that commonest of common man suffers when even a single member in the family is struck with illness. Hence, the Modiji led Government has been making concerted efforts to keep essential and critical medicines within the reach of the masses. 

Deepak Patil, came to earn livelihood to Mumbai, from his native in Chandrapur, Eastern Maharashtra. With family of six, he, his wife and a son, old retired parents and college going sister, it was huge burden on him to support the family amidst high cost of living of Mumbai. He could afford to buy a double room in a chawl in far away Virar in suburban Mumbai. Working as clerk in an office in Churchgate in central Mumbai, he was compelled to travel by Mumbai local daily in extreme rush hours. The pay scale not sufficient to support comfortable living for entire family, he had no choice but to obtain an additional part time job after his office hours. Hence, he could only reach home around midnight, travelling back a two hour journey!

Irregular hours and extreme stress took toll on his health and he was diagnosed with Diabetes. The doctor subscribed anti-diabetic drugs to be taken regularly as well as changes in his dietary habits. The anti-diabetic drug Glimepride priced at Rs.54/- per tablet would cost mammoth for Deepak, who was struggling hard to fulfil family’s daily needs!

Due to unaffordable price of drug, Deepak had no choice but to let go his medical needs. 
Around the same time, the PM BJK was launched in his vicinity, where the similar drug, priced at Rs.4.02 under the Government scheme could be availed.

Availability of medicines suitable to his pocket, did not hamper his family budget and smoother his life.

Modiji has created a legal framework to ensure that doctors prescribed low-cost generic medicines instead of expensive branded drugs. 

The law intends to hit hard at the nexus of doctors and Pharma companies.

NDA Government is favourably considering an amendment to the decades old Drugs and Cosmetics Rule, to specify a separate colour code for generic medicines, from branded medicines. A generic is a copy of a formerly patented drug of two types, branded and unbranded.

The JanAushadhi Scheme (JAS) is a direct market intervention by the Department of Chemical & Fertilizers but not Health Ministry. In Bharat, the production of medicines is under the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Ministry of Health deals with healthcare programmes and health issues of nation. In Bharat, Health is a state subject and Central Government only controls national health programmes.

Unfortunately, Health is not fundamental right as per the Constitution of Bharat. Hence, it hugely impacts applicability of any schemes nation wide, across every corner of Bharat and especially, in remotest area reaching out to the marginalised population. The implementation varies with ideology and agendas followed by state governments in federal structure.

This is the shortcoming that obstructs the implementation of the humanitarian Scheme.

There is a cozy connection between the medical practitioners and pharmaceutical industries which influence the prescription of most of medical practitioners. Medical associations and societies request the drug companies to sponsor their scientific activities such as conferences, symposia and continuing medical educations. The glitter of the drug industry is too irresistible. Similarly, doctors do not find any advantage in prescribing generic medicine vis-a-vis branded medicines which offer them attractive returns.

The Modiji led Government has designated 7 March as JanAushadhi Diwas.

The aim of JanAushadhi Scheme (JAS) is to make availability of generic medicine store (PM BJK) in each district of all states. 
At the time of launch if PMBJP in 2015, its implementation was planned with lot of brainstorming sessions and discussions with various stockholders and strategic action plan. 

Though Modi Government has strived hard, to expand this programme’s reach, far and wide, to the remotest areas, but still the JAS has neither been hot topic in the media nor in any political speech. 

The Yojna that touches the daily lives of common man, has not touched the soul of opinion makers, is surely unfortunate.