September 30, 2010 in pharma industry
Even as the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) is still toying with the idea of sourcing the generic medicines from private companies for the Jan Aushadhi stores, some of the Jan Aushadhi stores have already started sourcing medicines from open market as the public sector pharma units are not able to supply enough drugs to these stores, resulting high prices of these drugs.
The prices of medicines sourced through open market are much higher than the prices being quoted in Jan Aushadhi stores, which was launched to ensure that essential medicines are made available to the vast majority of common people in the country at affordable prices.
According to sources, the Jan Aushadhi store in Amritsar in Punjab, the first Jan Aushadhi store in the country that was inaugurated by the then union chemicals minister Ramvilas Paswan in November 2008, is not getting the enough quantity of drugs from the public sector pharma companies like IDPL, RDPL, etc for its sales and has started sourcing the drugs from open market at high prices.
Sources said that the main reason for this development is the totally indifferent attitude of the senior officials in the DoP towards the Jan Aushadhi Project, which the union minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers, Srikant Jena wanted to make a national movement to ensure that essential medicines are made affordable and accessible to the common man of the country. Even after shortlisting several private companies for sourcing the medicines at much cheaper rates, the DoP did not start sourcing from them even after almost two years of the launch of the project.
For sourcing the drugs from private companies, the DoP had invited expression of interest from the companies in December 2008 and a large number of private companies, including some big companies, were shortlisted by the department. But after scrutiny of the applications and the physical inspections of the premises of some of the applicants, the DoP finally cancelled the entire process, which was not revived so far for reasons best known to the DoP only.
Interestingly, the small drug units had offered to supply the generic drugs at much cheaper rates than the market rates. In most of the cases, the prices of generic drugs, quoted by the small companies, are just one-fourth of the prevailing market rate of the generic medicines. But, all the pleas of these companies fell on the deaf ears of the DoP, sources said.