Nation Current Affairs 03 Apr 2017 Centre’s Jan A ...

Centre’s Jan Aushadhi and State’s Kerala Generic tread parallel tracks

Published Apr 3, 2017, 6:57 am IST
Updated Apr 3, 2017, 7:17 am IST
The common factor binding the two programmes is the switch to generic than branded drugs.
Annual spend on medicines  in Kerala Rs 12.000 crore.
 Annual spend on medicines in Kerala Rs 12.000 crore.

Thiruvananthapuram: Synergy between the Centre and the State Government may halve the annual Rs 12,000-crore spend on medicines in the State but, for now, the two governments are treading parallel tracks.

Both Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Scheme and Kerala Generics plan to set up a chain of drug stores exclusively for low-priced quality generic medicines, mainly to benefit the poor. While Jan Aushadhi relies on NGOs, the State-sponsored Kerala Generics will use Karunya network.


But given divergent approaches to the implementation, Jan Aushadhi stores with the backing of the Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) will be located on the premises of Government hospitals while Kerala Generics will use facilities inside hospitals.

In Kerala, Jan Aushadhi has tied up with Bharat Sevak Samaj and other NGOs, giving licensees a commission of 20 percent. Kerala Generics’ in-hospital chain will source Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd and Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KSDPL). Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has earmarked Rs 28 crore to rejuvenate the latter.


Says Health Minister K K Shylaja: “The basis of PM’s Aushadhi scheme is the NGO, rather than a collaborative venture with the State Government. We are not sure about its future, whether we will have to share the financial burden. But we do not want to stand in the way of patients benefiting by the Central scheme. Kerala Generics will take off, though it takes time”.       

An Aushadhi source said the average monthly spend of Rs 2,000 on drugs would reduce to Rs 600 because of the bulk purchase of generics on a national scale.  


The common factor binding the two programmes is the switch to generic than branded drugs. Generics cost will be less unlike the branded drugs that are promoted through advertisements and other inducements for medics.

The widespread complaint of quality compromise with generics will be addressed by the stringent system of National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories and the involvement of the Drug Controller General of India and the Director General of Health Services.    

Experts feel Kerala will benefit by doing business with the Centre than compete with it.


Says Dr K G Revi Kumar, the pioneer of community pharmacy in the State: “Aushadhi already has a list of 600-odd suppliers and the demand is huge countrywide. By joining hands with the Central scheme, Kerala’s own KSDPL could emerge into a major supplier of essential drugs. It’s a golden opportunity we can hardly miss”.