The government is strengthening back-end supply chain of over 3,600 Jan Aushadhi stores to ensure availability of low-cost generic medicines, a senior government official said.
It plans to set up warehouses to serve as regional hubs to these stores to boost supplies, the official added.
Technological efforts are also being made to connect the stores with warehouses and update stock situation on a real-time basis for maintaining an adequate supply.
Moreover, the number of drugs sold at these Jan Aushadhi stores is being expanded to around 1,000 from nearly 750 currently during the current fiscal.
"Our first priority is that no one should return empty-handed from a store. In order to ensure timely and adequate supply of medicines we are enhancing the supply chain infrastructure," Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) Joint Secretary Navdeep Rinwa told PTI.
The government has already set up a central warehouse in Gurgaon and also plans to set up another five regional warehouses across the country over the next few months in order to maintain the supply of medicines, he added.
Each store is being connected via a software system to track the real-time position of medicines so that there is no paucity of drugs at any location, Rinwa said.
The government has also started procuring drugs from private parties in addition to central government public sector undertakings (PSUs) in order to avoid delays in supply.
Currently, there are more than 3,600 Jan Aushadhi stores across the country. These stores have resulted in an overall saving of over Rs 635 crore to patients last fiscal.
"This fiscal we are targetting at least Rs 1,000 crore savings for customers," he added.
On expansion of Jan Aushadhi stores, Rinwa said that the government planned to set up an outlet at each block after it achieved the target of having at least one shop at each one of the 715 districts of the country under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP).
The government recently started selling affordable biodegradable sanitary napkins, priced at Rs 2.50 per pad, from Jan Aushadhi stores under PMBJP scheme.