Introduction to Jan Aushadhi

Over the years India, has developed a strong capability in producing quality branded and generic medicines in most of the therapeutic categories, evolving from an mere Rs 1,500 crores industry in 1980 to a more than Rs 1,19,000 crores industry in 2012. However, although these medicines are reasonably priced, as compared to the prices of their equivalent medicines in most other countries, yet a large population of poor people in the country, find it difficult to afford the more expensive branded category of medicines. Accordingly, 'ensuring availability of quality medicines at affordable prices to all', has been a key objective of the Government. some of the important steps taken to enable this are:
A. Price control of Scheduled Drugs through the National Pharmaceutical pricing authority (NPPA): Under the Drug Price Control Order, 1995, NPPA): Under the Drug Price Control Order, 1995, NPPA has been given the mandate to control and fix the maximum retail prices of a number of scheduled/listed bulk drugs and their formulations, in accordance with well defined criteria and methods of accounting, relating to costs of production and marketing Notably therefore, the prices of these medicines have remained quite stable and affordable.
B. Price regulation of Non-Scheduled Drugs: Apart from the scheduled medicines under DPCO, 1995, the NPPA monitors the prices of other medicines not listed in the DPCO schedule, such that they do not have a price variation of more than 10% per annum. This has further helped in keeping the prices of most of the non-scheduled medicines stable and affordable.
C. Uniform VAT of 4% on medicines: Government has fixed a uniform and low rate of 4% VAT on medicines in the country. This policy has been adopted, in almost all the States in the country, and has reduced the incidence of sales tax on medicines and thereby assisted in keeping their prices low.
D. Reduction in Excise duty from 16% to 4% Further and in addition to above low, VAT rates, the [present government had, as part of the Budget for the year 2008-09 reduced the excise duty on medicines from 16% to 8%. This has been further reduced to 4 percent as from 8th December, 2008. This has again, played a crucial role in keeping the prices of most of the medicines at reasonable levels. Not satisfied with the above regulatory and financial steps for ensuring greater availability of medicines at affordable prices to all, specially the poorer masses, the government has decided to launch a country wide Jan Aushadhi Campaign.

It is well known that due to market led consumer awareness and availability, branded medicines are sold by drug manufacturers at higher prices than their unbranded generic equivalents, which are as good in therapeutic value.Therefore, if generic medicines are made more accessible and available in the market, everyone would benefit. Seizing this opportunity, the Pharma Advisory Forum in its meeting held on 23rd April, 2008 under the Chairmanship of Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Hon'ble Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Steel, Decided to launch a Jan Aushadhi Campaign. A key initiative under the campaign would involve opening of Jan Aushadhi stores where, unbranded quality generic medicines would be sold which are available at lower prices, but are equivalent in potency to branded expensive drugs.
Accordingly, a Task Force of senior officers of the Department of Pharmaceuticals, CEOs of Pharma CPSUs, representatives of Pharma industry, NGOs/charitable organizations, State Governments, and most importantly doctors from reputed national level institutions like AIIMS, Maulana Azad Medical College and RML Hospital was constituted to implement the objective of making available affordable medicines for all. Senior representatives of WHO were also invited to the deliberations. The Task Force held extensive discussions and unanimously decided to launch a Jan Aushadhi campaign starting with sale of generic medicines through dedicated sale outlets in various districts of the country. The program was envisaged to be launched, in associations with the Central Pharma Public Sector Undertakings (CPSU) as part of their Corporate Social Responsibilities agenda. The roles of various other stake holders, including the state governments were defined for implementing the scheme in a campaign mode.

The Jan Aushadhi Campaign would:


1. Make quality the hallmark of medicine availability in the country, by ensuring, access to quality medicines through the CPSU supplies and through GMP Compliant manufacturers in the private sector.
2. Despite constraints of budget in the Central and State governments, extend coverage of quality generic medicines which would reduce and thereby redefine the unit cost of treatment per person.
3. Develop a model which can be replicated not only in India but also in other less developed countries in their common goal of improving quality affordable health care by improving access to quality medicines at affordable prices for all.
4. Not be just restricted to the Public Health System but be adopted with zeal and conviction by the Private Sector and thereby spread its coverage to every village of this country. The Jan Aushadhi campaign is open for all. Since generic equivalents are available for all branded drugs, the campaign will provide access to any prescription drug or Over The Counter (OTC) drug for anybody. It will be as much available to the disadvantaged sections of the society as much to the advantaged richer population segment of the country.
5. Create awareness through education and publicity so that quality is not synonymous with high price but less is more that is to say that, with a lesser price, more medicines would be available, more patients would be treated and more people will lead a healthier life.
6. Be a public program involving State governments, the Central government, Public Sector enterprises, private Sector, NGOs, Cooperative bodies and other institutions.
7. Create a demand for generic medicines By All for All by improving access to better healthcare through low treatment costs and easy availability wherever needed in All therapeutic categories.

This Jan Aushadhi Campaign has already started with the opening of the first Jan Aushadhi on 25th November 2008 with the active participation of the CPSUs namely, IDPL,HAL,BPCWith the launch of the Jan Aushadhi store at Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi, on campaign is reaching an ambitious phase of launching of more than 45 stores Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Haryana, Bihar, UP, Assam and Chhattisgarh five Jan Aushadhi drug stores are coming up in Punjab, one each at Bhatinda, Jalandhar, and Mohali in February 2009 with additional stores opening up at Panchkula and Faridabad shortly. The above efforts have met with good success as is clear from the media coverage.

The Jan Aushadhi initiative will make available quality drugs at affordable prices through dedicated stores selling generic medicines which are available at lesser prices but are equivalent in quality and efficacy as expensive branded drugs. Some comparative prices are: Prices in Rs. as of (Sep, 2013)

Name of Salt Dosage Pack Jan Aushadhi Price Market Price
Tab. Ciprofloxacin 250mg 10 12.89 54.79
Tab. Ciprofloxacin 500mg 10 24.99 125.00
Tab. Diclofenac 100mg 10 4.20 60.40
Tab. Cetrizine 10mg 10 2.75 20.00
Tab. Paracetamol 500mg 10 3.03 09.40
Tab Nimesulide 100mg 10 3.16 39.67
Cough Syrup 110ml Liquid 13.30 33.00

The Jan Aushadhi Campaign will accordingly:


* Promote greater awareness about cost effective drugs and their prescription.
* Make available unbranded quality generic medicines at affordable prices through public-private partnership.
* Encourage doctors, more specifically in government hospital to prescribe generic medicines.
* Enable substantial savings in health care more particularly in the case of poor patients and those suffering from chronic ailments requiring long periods of drug use.

A list of Unbranded Generic medicines, commonly used by patients for chronic and other diseases, has been prepared. The National List of Essential Medicines, 2003 (NLEM, 2003) has also been used for this purpose. This will be considered as Common List (CL). Each State would be able to have an add-on list called the State List (SL) based on the use of any specific medicine in the area.
The State Governments/NGOs/Charitable/cooperative/Government bodies will be encouraged to establish Jan Aushadhi stores in Government hospital premises or at other suitable location in all the Districts of all the States and union Territories.
Under the Jan Aushadhi campaign Jan Aushadhi stores will be opened in all the districts in the country in phases. Accordingly, States have been identified for opening of the Jan Aushadhi stores in the first phase along with the proposed nodal organizations responsible for coordinating the activities. After successful operationalisation of the program in these districts, other districts in other States would be considered in subsequent phases.

Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) In order to enable a focused and empowered structure to implement the above responsibilities, a Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) has been established on the 1st of December 2008 comprising all the Pharma CPSUs under the Department of Pharmaceuticals. The Bureau will bring about effective collaboration and cooperation in furthering the working and resources of these organizations. More specifically it would:
* Co-ordinate marketing of the generic drugs through the Jan Aushadhi stores.
* Co-ordinate supply of medicines in the State from their own plants, other Pharma PSUs of Central & State Governments and Private Sector.
* Coordinate with Hospitals in preparation of formulary.
* Monitor proper running of Jan Aushadhi stores with the help of other CPSUs.
* Provide medicines as per rates decided in the joint Forum/Core Committee
* Monitor activities of the Jan Aushadhi stores in the areas allocated to them. To begin with the Bureau has started working as separate and independent unincorporated entity from its office at IDPL , Gurgaon with an independent administration, operation and accounting system for its receipts and expenses. The Central Government would suitably assist the Bureau both financially and technically till the Bureau sustains by itself through its own operations. Other Central and State Pharma PSUs would also be given the opportunity to join the Bureau.

This would be an important task to be undertaken by the Bureau Based on the list of products to bemarketed, a distribution system would be worked out for supplying these medicines to the Jan Aushadhi Stores. Prices of these medicines would be fixed taking into account the cost of manufacturing, reasonable margin to cover other expenses like transportation, profit, retail expenses, etc. The endeavour would be to keep the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the generic medicines substantially lower than the MRP of other equivalent medicines in the market.
Accordingly, Expression of the interests have been invited from well-reputed charitable bodies, consumer bodies, NGOs, Hospitals, etc. to run the Jan Aushadhi Stores as well as for augmenting the supplies of generic medicines/ surgical items from quality manufacturers subject to fulfilment of certain parameters. There has been an encouraging response and the lists are being finalized by the Bureau.

The central objective of the campaign is to make quality medicines available to the consumers at affordable prices. Given the socio-economic conditions and the level of ignorance and illiteracy with vast disparities of income in the country, the advantage of the scheme can be taken by the consumers or could reach the consumers particularly the poor and the needy, only when a good multimedia publicity programmed is mounted to educate the consumers of all strata of society. They multi media campaign would also address the myth that low priced medicines are not good or efficacious and only the costly medicines are good or superior.
Since every publicity programmed costs money and this being a national campaign, initiated by the Central Government in the Department of Pharmaceuticals, funds are required for publicity programmes and other promotional measures including strengthening the Bureau of Pharma of PSUs of India and some initial financial back up support wherever required to help the NGOs, etc which are interested in running the Jan Aushadhi Stores. In view of the above, a modest amount of Rs 5 crores has been sought to begin with from the Planning Commission. Simultaneously, a Public Campaign for this purpose needs to be undertaken by various stakeholders and the media on a voluntary basis.

A Core committee has been set up to coordinate the implementation of progress with State Governments, Private sector and CPSUs. The Committee will:


Create consumer awareness through multimedia publicity.
Prepare a comprehensive scheme after the success of the pilot project, for all districts of the country with a specific focus on the poor and disadvantaged sections of the society. Part expenditure would be met by Central Government/CPSUs in such a way that the three partners i.e. Central Government, State Government and the Private sector contribute towards the scheme either financially or in case of private sector by supplying medicines at no-profit or nominal profit basis.
Periodically review and evaluate the implementation of the scheme and carry out suitable correction to further improve it bases on the experience gained.

It is well known that due to market led consumer awareness and availability, branded medicines are sold by drug manufacturers at higher prices than their unbranded generic equivalents, which are as good in therapeutic value.
Therefore, if generic medicines are made more accessible and available in the market, everyone would benefit. Seizing this opportunity, the Pharma Advisory Forum in its meeting held on 23rd April, 2008 under the Chairmanship of Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Hon'ble Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Steel, Decided to launch a Jan Aushadhi Campaign. A key initiative under the campaign would involve opening of Jan Aushadhi stores where, unbranded quality generic medicines would be sold which are available at lower prices, but are equivalent in potency to branded expensive drugs.
Accordingly, a Task Force of senior officers of the Department of Pharmaceuticals, CEOs of Pharma CPSUs, representatives of Pharma industry, NGOs/charitable organizations, State Governments, and most importantly doctors from reputed national level institutions like AIIMS, Maulana Azad Medical College and RML Hospital was constituted to implement the objective of making available affordable medicines for all. Senior representatives of WHO were also invited to the deliberations. The Task Force held extensive discussions and unanimously decided to launch a Jan Aushadhi campaign starting with sale of generic medicines through dedicated sale outlets in various districts of the country. The program was envisaged to be launched, in associations with the Central Pharma Public Sector Undertakings (CPSU) as part of their Corporate Social Responsibilities agenda. The roles of various other stake holders, including the state governments were defined for implementing the scheme in a campaign mode.

Apart from State Governments, The Jan Aushadhi Stores may also be run b y NGOs/Charitable/Cooperative/Government bodies,Red Cross, etc and hence their role is important. Recurring expenses on maintenance and running of the stores outside the government hospitals may have to be incurred by such bodies. For this purpose, reasonable margins are built up in the MRP of Jan Aushadhi Drugs.

The private sector in the Pharma industry is expected to make available unbranded generic medicines and surgical products at cost plus nominal profit in special pickings.

A Scientific study will be undertaken on a scientific basis for this purpose. A national level body such as AIIMS or NIPER would undertake such a study and publish their findings.

Finally, The Jan Aushadhi Campaign would be a self sustaining business model not dependent on government subsidies or assistance. It would be run in a Campaign Mission Mode on the principle of Not For Profits but with Minimal Profits. It would in this sense incorporate the trusteeship principle of business management espoused by no other than the father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It would redefine the principles of drug prescription by doctors, production by manufacturers and retail trade by pharmacy stores. It would establish and emphasize the efficacy and potency of generic medicines such that quality medicines will be affordable by all for a better quality of life.