Govt. of India’s “Jan Aushadhi” generic drug biz to kick off from July 1st

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Come July 1st, the Government of India will kick start its ambitious plan to sell low-cost generic drugs under the brand name “Jan Aushadhi.” Low-cost generic medicines will be purchased in bulk from public and private owned firms and will be rebranded as “Jan Aushadhi”. 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. This will be sold in the market at a competitive price, providing the consumer with a cheap and high quality product from the government.

The drugs list covers 504 essential medicines, mostly painkillers, antibiotics and vitamins for chronic ailments such as heart disease, respiratory problems, diabetes and gastroenteritis.

Pharma industry invests heavily in creating brands but since they cannot advertise any prescription based medicines, companies often rely on doctors and chemists to push their brands. And consumers who are the end users, are often unable to make an informed choice while purchasing medicines and mostly rely on their physician’s or chemists advice. Thus, this latest move by the government to provide an umbrella brand for generic drugs, will enable consumers to make that choice.

The business is supposed to start in phases selling top 100 generic drugs. In the first phase, these drugs will be made available to 800 select chemists, mostly across Delhi. However, the government plans to expand the reach to most metros by the end of the year. The initiative which started in 2008 took off after great apprehension among the physicians.

“Initially, the government had apprehensions that doctors would not support such a move because it may hurt the private sector. However, we have ensured them full support if the quality of products is maintained,” IMA secretary general K K Aggarwal said. Once the brand is rolled out, the government also plans to make it mandatory for public hospitals to prescribe it wherever possible, an official said.

The Jan Aushadhi website says its existence “would redefine the principles of drug prescription by doctors, production by manufacturers and retail trade by pharmacy stores. It would establish and emphasise the efficacy and potency of generic medicines such that quality medicines will be affordable by all for a better quality of life.”

More information can be accessed here.

Details can be found in Jan Aushadhi’s webpage.