Concerned about spiralling prices of medicines to treat diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions, Centre’s Department of Pharmaceuticals plans to offer 439 life-saving medicines, including cancer and cardiovascular drugs, as well as 250 medical devices like stents and implants at 40-50% discounted prices.
The drugs and devices will be made available through the Jan Aushadhi stores opened across the country. Presently, only 45 medicines are available in 121 such stores.
Branded generics dominate the pharmaceuticals sector, constituting nearly 70 to 80 per cent of the market. India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally.
Now aiming to pass the benefit to its people, government is bringing in schemes to bring down prices of essential medicines without using direct price regulation.
Government is trying to bulk procure medicines directly from companies at a discounted price and then pass on the benefit to consumers. Under the new plan, the government has formed a nodal agency – Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India (BPPI) — to implement this project.
Government maintains that it plans to open 300 more Jan Aushadi stores by March 2016 and 3,000 more during 2016-17. Further, rules have been relaxed to allow opening of stores anywhere outside the hospital premises as well.