How Generic Medical Stores Are Helping Lower Middle Class Indians Afford Medicines

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In India, branded generic medicines created by pharmaceutical firms dominate the Indian pharmaceutical retail market and very few patented medicines are available for sale. These medicines cannot be promoted through advertising campaigns so the companies have to rely on local chemists and doctors to sell their products. Due to this, the consumers have to rely on the chemist’s prescription for their choice of medicine.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India has launched its new scheme called ” Jan Aushadhi ” to make available generic medicines at affordable rates and tested quality to its lower middle class. Now you can walk in local medical stores across the country government and ask for equally effective Jan Aushadhi brand medicines at relatively cheaper rates.

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For this purpose, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has established a Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of Indian (BPPI) which is responsible for the storage, supply and marketing of these medicines to the locals.

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In the first phase of the project, 504 essential medicines have been supplied to these stores including antibiotics, vitamins, pain-killers and medicines for the treatment of diseases related to the heart, lungs, kidneys and digestive system. The list of medicinal products is also available on their website.

The quality control is conducted to ensure the safety, quality and efficacy of the medicines. Each batch of medicines is tested for compliance to recommended standards before they reach the Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India`s Warehouse. Private suppliers of medicines are tested in NABL approved laboratories before their supplies are approved. 

Though the quality level of medicines is the same, the consumers are getting huge discounts in prices of medicines which has reduced the burden from the less privileged communities sufficiently. Some of the price differences are available in the chart below:

Differences in prices of the same medicines at market and Jan Aushadhi store rates

Price differences of the same medicines at market and generic rates.

Though the initiative is commendable but there have been issues of supply chain management due to dependence on PSU’s for the supply of medicines.  Another challenge is to increase awareness among the masses about what generic medicines are, where they are available and how they can purchase them.

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