Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 12:
As anticipated, the launch of the Niramaya scheme has pushed the Jan Aushadhi programme to the brink of closure in many parts of Odisha.
In the last five months since the launch of Niramaya, the Jan Aushadhi counters in Gajapati and Koraput districts have wound up their operations. District administration officials have cited poor sales as the reason for the closure to the Red Cross authorities.
“The Jan Aushadhi centres in Puri and Malkangiri will be closed very soon. The district administrations have sent notice to Red Cross regarding that. The launch of Niramaya scheme had put a question mark over the existence of Jan Aushadhi centres across the state. The business volume has nosedived in various parts leading to closure,” Honorary Secretary, Indian Red Cross Society, Odisha State Branch, Dr Chakradhar Panda said.
“We would write to the Health department for its immediate intervention as many people have been and will be rendered jobless after the closure of the centres. Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India (BPPI) will take a call on the stock of medicines,” Panda added.
The district administration has served notice to Red Cross to shut down Jan Aushadhi centres in at least three districts. After the launch of Niramaya, the state Health department is contemplating closing the Jan Aushadhi outlets in other districts, sources said.
Jan Aushadhi stores were opened by BPPI under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India. The first outlet was opened at the Red Cross Bhawan premises here in 2010 with the help of the state government.
The Jan Aushadhi outlets were opened with the aim to provide cost-effective generic medicines to customers and it gained popularity with time. After two outlets in the capital city—Red Cross Bhawan and Capital Hospital, 22 counters were opened in 18 districts across the state. Not only that, the government had approved opening of 400 more Jan Aushadhi counters across the state. Such outlets were also planned to be opened at district headquarters hospitals.
Gradually, the varieties of drugs were increased from 70 to 240. Despite the reluctance of doctors to prescribe generic medicines, the Jan Aushadhi centres did a good volume of business. However, its business took a downturn after May 1 post the launch of Niramaya scheme which provides free medicines to patients.
The government had introduced the Niramaya scheme in three medical colleges and hospitals, all 30 district headquarters hospitals, besides Capital Hospital and Rourkela Government Hospital, in the first phase. Subsequently, the centres were to be opened in community health centres (CHCs) and primary health centres (PHCs) across the state.
With the distribution of free medicines to the patients, including those meant for critical diseases, under the Niramaya scheme, the success of Jan Aushadhi programme is anybody’s guess.