Looks like Indian government is all focused towards the booming retail industry in order to propel the expansion of its 'Jan Aushadhi' initiative across the country. Recently it has been reported that the government of India has approached some of country’s leading supermarket and hypermarket chains such as Future Group’s Big Bazaar and Aditya Birla Group’s More to have ‘Jan Aushadhi’ counters in their stores.
Being just six month left to launch the initiative, the main reason behind approaching these major retailers was to reach out to a larger audience. These low-cost and generic medicine outlets will get a massive traction if they get counters in these hypermarkets and supermarkets. Talking to a leading daily, Sudhansh Pant, DoP Joint Secretary said that the government aims to start 3,000 such outlets by the end of this financial year. However, he did not disclose the names of retail chains finalised for the same.
Jan Aushadhi scheme which was proposed around a decade ago is now been rebranded as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana and received a green signal this year with a proposal for a rollout of 3,000 more stores across the country.
The move by the government is undoubtedly to splurge the demand of unbranded generics and to keep their prices low, but in order to make it used by the mass, doctors and practitioners do need to prescribe them too. With making such counters easily available in supermarkets and hypermarkets, the demand of such products will surely go up. The stores are expected to sell over 500 of approved high quality medical consumables that also include unbranded medicines and several necessary drugs at a quite affordable rate.
The prices of these medicines is expected to be as lower as one tenth of their branded equivalent, and may especially benefit patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart diseases.
As per the DoP currently there are only 437 stores so far and the expansion has been slow. India’s drug regulation has been one of the biggest barriers as it doesn’t allow pharmacists to substitute brands prescribed by a doctor with unbranded generic alternatives. Even state governments are not will to open such stores as many of them are already having free medicine schemes.
As per the DoP, the department is already into initial stage talks with the retail giants of the country and these retailers have shown preliminary interest towards the same. FMCG majors such as Emami, which operates more than 150 pharmacies under the Frank Ross title, have also been approached.