- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.
What to study?
- For Prelims: Features of PMBJP and Janaushadhi Suvidha.
- For Mains: Health facilities for the underprivileged- need and efforts by the government, generic medicines and their increasing popularity worldwide.
Context: 7th March 2019 to be celebrated as ‘Janaushadhi Diwas’ across India.
As part of the celebrations, PM will interact with owners of Janaushadhi Kendras and beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) across the country.
‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’ is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. Of India, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses through special kendra’s known as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra.
- Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra (PMBJK) have been set up to provide generic drugs, which are available at lesser prices but are equivalent in quality and efficacy as expensive branded drugs.
- Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementing agency of PMBJP. BPPI (Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India) has been established under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. of India, with the support of all the CPSUs.
SALIENT FEATURES OF THE SCHEME:
- Ensure access to quality medicines.
- Extend coverage of quality generic medicines so as to reduce the out of pocket expenditure on medicines and thereby redefine the unit cost of treatment per person.
- Create awareness about generic medicines through education and publicity so that quality is not synonymous with only high price.
- A public programme involving Government, PSUs, Private Sector, NGO, Societies, Co-operative Bodies and other Institutions.
- Create demand for generic medicines by improving access to better healthcare through low treatment cost and easy availability wherever needed in all therapeutic categories.
What is a Generic Medicine?
Generic medicines are unbranded medicines which are equally safe and having the same efficacy as that of branded medicines in terms of their therapeutic value. The prices of generic medicines are much cheaper than their branded equivalent.
Outreach of generic medicines:
- With developments like more and more doctors prescribing generic medicines and opening of over 5050 Janaushadhi stores across 652 districts, awareness and availability of high quality affordable generic medicines has increased in the country. About 10-15 lakh people benefit from Janaushadhi medicines per day and the market share of generic medicines has grown over three fold from 2% to 7%in last 3 years.
- The Janaushadhi medicines have played a big role in bringing down the out of pocket expenditure of patients suffering from life threatening diseases in India. The PMBJP scheme has led to total savings of approximately Rs.1000 crores for common citizens, as these medicines are cheaper by 50% to 90% of average market price.
- The PMBJP is also providing a good source of self-employment with self-sustainable and regular earnings.
No poor person should die due to non-availability of good quality affordable medicines in the country. Therefore, making quality healthcare affordable for all should be the ultimate objective of the government.
Mains Question: The central government has taken an initiative ‘Jan Aushadhi’ to avail citizens of low-cost medicines. What will be the benefits of the scheme to the people and the pharmaceutical companies? Critically examine.