Pharmaceutical companies such as Cipla, Ranbaxy, Dr Reddy’s Labs and Lupin might soon be part of the government’s ambitious ‘Jan Aushadhi’ project.
In an attempt to commercialise the project, the government is likely to rope in the private sector to bulk-procure generic drugs from them. Jan Aushadhi stores are government-run outlets to sell generic drugs at an affordable price.
The department of pharmaceuticals, currently working to revive the project, could soon float tenders to buy generic drugs from companies to improve the supply chain for its stores across India. This is expected to help these companies generate significant revenue, through bulk supplies to the government. There are 117 Jan Aushadhi stores across the country and the plan is to expand to at least 600 in the next two years and 3,000 by 2016. The programme is being implemented in conjunction with state governments.
- Govt plans to rope in companies such as Cipla, Ranbaxy, Dr Reddy’s Labs and Lupin for Jan Aushadhi scheme
- Govt may float open tender to procure generic drugs from private companies
- The move may boost companies’ sales through bulk supplies
- At present, govt runs 117 Jan Aushadhi stores
- It aims to open 3,000 Jan Aushadhi stores by 2016
Pharmaceutical companies are expected to gain as the department has prepared a list of 350 essential medicines which could be procured from them. “This would certainly provide various companies with a huge opportunity to participate in tenders. The health ministry already floats such tenders for its public health and vaccination programmes and that complements the revenue models of the companies,” an expert said.
At present, most of the Jan Aushadhi stores are based in the north zone, mainly in Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana. The revival plan is aimed at expanding the reach of these stores, a top official in the department said. “So far, public sector units (PSUs) were supplying drugs to these stores but that’s not enough. There is a problem in the demand-supply chain. So, we are working on a new business (model). We are considering open tenders for procuring medicines from private companies,” he said.
The department has called a meeting of industry associations such as the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, which represents domestic generic drug makers, and the Indian Drug Manufacturers Asso-ciation, on July 18 for suggestions and feedback. It is to review the existing voluntary marketing code at the same meeting. “The idea is to make more essential and life saving drugs available and affordable through this project. We also want to make these stores commercially viable, so that they can sustain on their own. Private participation may allow that,” the official said.
The latest move comes in the wake of recent criticism by standing committee of Parliament that noted a “lack of sense of urgency” by the department on expanding the Jan Aushadhi stores.
At present, PSUs such as Hindustan Antibiotics and Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd supply medicines to Jan Aushadhi stores. Whenever these companies are not able to manufacture the medicines themselves, they are to get these contract-manufactured from elsewhere. However, the committee observed there was little progress in addressing the inadequacies from which the programme suffered.
“The health ministry’s programme to supply free generic drugs is mainly focused in and around public health centres, but not everyone goes to such centres. So, our plan is to create a separate space for Jan Aushadhi, where there are people who are ready to pay for affordable medicines,” an official said.