To bolster the availability of affordable medicines in the country, the department of pharmaceuticals, under the chemicals and fertilisers ministry, will soon hold a meeting with state governments to promote the prescription of generic medicines in the country.
The government will also push for more Jan Aushadhi generic drug store (JADS) to sell generic drugs. "Soon, we will be organising a meeting of representatives of the health departments of various state governments to form a consensus over the issue of prescription of unbranded generic medicines," union chemicals and fertilisers minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters in New Delhi.
Speaking after the inauguration of the country's second JADS, Paswan said his ministry had written to the state governments asking them to make it mandatory for medical practitioners working in government facilities to prescribe only unbranded generic medicines.
Earlier, the government had announced the setting up of such stores in all districts of the country. The first one was set up in Amritsar recently. "These stores are specifically designed to sell only unbranded medicines," Paswan said.
Meanwhile, the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) has received 76 applications from domestic drug makers who are interested in supplying generic medicines at a lower price to the Jan Aushadhi stores. At present, only public sector pharma companies are supplying medicines to these stores.
Confirming this, DoP secretary Ashok Kumar said, "It is important to ensure that the medicines available in these stores are quality medicines. Therefore, any company supplying the medicines would need to have good manufacturing practices compliant with the eligibility criteria set by the department."
The industry has been complaining for sometime that the short supply of medicines in these generic stores is mainly because the government is not allowing them to supply medicines. According to a DoP official, the applications are likely to be cleared in next two weeks.
The government's initiative to open generic drug stores is in line with UPA's 'common minimum programme' agenda to provide affordable medicines. The government plans to promote these stores through prescriptions in government hospitals. The stores will be set up on the hospital premises as far as possible.
The government plans to launch 40 JADS by March in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh. Generic medicines are identical to branded ones, but are known only by their chemical formulation.