Health Ministry in Jammu & Kashmir is reportedly planning to open at least one store in each government hospital for selling medicines at fair prices. Protesting voices could be heard being raised by the private medical shop owners.
Those protesting allege that (i) the permission has been granted only to one particular party and it will also affect the sales of shops out side (ii) the party concerned (which is already running a few stores in hospitals ) has been given permission to sell only Jan Aushadi Store program drugs labelled with chemical / generic name, while they sell branded drugs (iii) the party who has been given permission / contract is a non-state subject and under Art 370 non state subjects cannot run shops in J&K (?).
As far as the common man is concerned his / her interest lies only in getting medicines at fair / discounted prices, it does not matter who sells that. Any how government has to see that the contracts / permissions are granted following open bidding / competition where ever needed and as permitted by laws of land.
The allegations made / questions raised are no doubt serious. No any public notification / statement has yet been issued by government in this regard and government must make the facts public.
Kashmir Doctors Association (DAK) too has recently expressed concern for marking drugs sold under brand names with unfair MRP in many cases and demanded that prescriptions should be written by chemical name / generic name ( where ever possible) .
No doubt the present J&K Health Minister too has shown concern for prescription writing by chemical name /generic name of the basic technical grade material and so far orders limiting it to only drugs available in government stores have been issued. Action of the Minister must be appreciated but the Health Minister needs to note that in case he has desires to relieve the SICK of unfair prescription burden he will have to put his foot down for opening Jan Aushadi Store (Kendra) atleast in/ near every Government Hospital / Dispensary and direct atleast all the Government doctors to write prescription by Chemical name / generic name. And in case it is not done, the Jan Aushadi Kendra programme will remain only on paper.
The private shop owners , NGOs/ Cooperatives societies / individuals too can go for keeping Jan Aushadi programme medicines and those in trade will have no justification in opposing atleast the fair / genuine priced medicine sale.
As on date lakhs of families are being fleeced by unfair pricing and prescription writing. For a first hand idea prices of some drugs that can be supplied under Jan Aushadi Store programme 2008 (now renamed as Prime Minister Jan Aushadi Kendra programme) and the price of same technical grade material sold under a typical brand name are being given here under. How serious is the issue could be well seen from the price difference.
The civil society too will have to impress upon the government for taking remedial measures and also defeat those elements who have been all these years defeating the Public welfare schemes simply for drawing undue economic benefits. Even public men can visit and request the doctors to either write by chemical name or prescribe medicines of same salt marked with lower MRP ( even amongst the brands the price difference is huge in some cases ( Rs 12.25/ 14 tab and Rs.34 / 10 Tab ).
In India it is also due to cost of medicines that a large population is forced by circumstances to neglect health care. Hence in many cases minor ailments become serious ailments.
It is not out of place to mention here that high cost prescriptions are not only due to expensive basic chemicals but it is more due to unfair pricing of the drugs by the manufacturers, unfair marketing policies and many of the prescription writers siding with unfair trade practices.
Many may not believe that some where medicines sold & prescribed under a brand name are marked with an MRP of 500% to 600 % (even more ) of the price that could still give reasonable (20to 30 %) margin of profit to the trade. Government of India had launched Jan Aushadi store programme in 2008 and professed that doctors should prescribe medicines by chemical name / generic name as far possible to crush the spine of unfair pricing and prescription writing.
Many may not believe that some where medicines sold & prescribed under a brand name are marked with an MRP of 500% to 600 % (even more ) of the price that could still give reasonable (20to 30 %) margin of profit to the trade. Government of India had launched Jan Aushadi store programme in 2008 and professed that doctors should prescribe medicines by chemical name / generic name as far possible to crush the spine of unfair pricing and prescription writing. The programme has so far not taken off even in 2017.
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