Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana: features, significance during pandemic

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The Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana has been in the news as the entire country is under lockdown. The demand for medicines and medical equipment is on the rise during this health crisis. To cater to this demand PMJAKs have delivered a record amount of affordable and quality medicines to the public during the lockdown.

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What is PM Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)?

  • It is a Scheme with an objective of making quality medicines available at affordable prices to all, particularly to the poor and disadvantaged, through exclusive outlets “Pradhan Mantri Janaushadhi Kendras”, so as to reduce out of pocket expenditure in healthcare.
  • It is a reinvigorated form of earlier “Jan Aushadhi Scheme” which was launched in 2008 by the department of pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & fertilizers, Government of India.
  • With a motto of ‘Accessibility, Acceptability and affordability’, It’s Mission is to
  1. Create awareness about generic medicine among people.
  2. Create demand for generics through medical practitioners.
  3. To inculcate that high price is not synonymous with quality.
  4. Provide all commonly used generics for all therapeutic groups.
  5. Provide all the related healthcare products.
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What is a generic medicine?

  • The Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 do not provide a definition for generic medicine.
  • Generally, a generic drug is a medication that has been created to be the same as an existing approved brand of drug in dosage form, safety, route of administration, quality, strength, and performance.
  • A generic drug can be 50-90% cheaper than an existing approved brand.
  • India has emerged as the pharma of the world due to its huge generic pharma sector.

Who implements the scheme?

  • The Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India i.e. BPPI, which is under the administrative control of the department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and fertilizers, Government of India.
  • The BPPI has been established with the support of all pharmaceutical Central PSUs for coordinating procurement, supply, and marketing of generic drugs through the PM Janaushadhi Kendras.
  • It is registered under the societies Registration Act, 1860 as a separate legal entity.

What is the Funding arrangement for the PMBJP?

  • Government of India is providing full financial support to the BPPI in initial years.
  • When the scheme is established, BPPI is expected to make efforts to recover as much as possible of its expenses through margin.
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What are the features of the PMBJP?

  • The State Governments or any organization/ Trusts/ reputed NGOs/Charitable institutions /Private hospitals /Doctors/Unemployed pharmacist/individual entrepreneurs are eligible to apply for new Janaushadhi Kendra.
  • An amount of Rs. 2.5 lakhs shall be extended to NGOs/agencies/individuals establishing Janaushadhi Kendras in government hospital premises where space is provided free of cost.
  • Credit facilities will be given to all PM Janaushadhi Kendras (PMJAK) for 30 days against postdated cheques.
  • PM Janaushadhi Kendras can be located within government hospital premises as well as Private hospital premises or anywhere outside. Presently there are more than 6300 PMJAKs across 726 districts in the country.
  • BPPI shall arrange a suitable training program for the entrepreneurs who do not have any experience in running medical shops.
  • To provide viability to the Kendras, they are allowed to sell allied medical products commonly sold in chemist shops so as to improve the viability of running the PM Janaushadhi Kendras.
  • BPPI is mandated to plan and undertake suitable media activities to spread the message of generic medicines and to achieve the objectives of the scheme.

What is the significance of the PMBJP?

  • In a country with 21% i.e. about 30 crore people are under the poverty line, the healthcare expenditure can be a costly affair for the poor.
  • The generics can provide for the need for cheap and effective medications for the poor obviously engage in out of pocket expenditure when it comes to healthcare.
  • The PMBJP works on this demand and tries to supply the generic medicine to the poor.
  • It is also a huge business boost for the generic drug producers as it provides them with a huge market across the country as the PMJAKs are spread across 726 districts of the country.
  • It helps in generating awareness about the generics and its quality and effectiveness.
  • It has been striving to make PMJAKs one-stop solutions for all the healthcare-related products so as to make it more viable and make the products reach the distant lands of the country.
  • It also helps promote entrepreneurship by training new entrepreneurs in running medical shops.

What are the activities taken for the ease and promote the working of Janaushadhi Kendras?

  • Janaushadhi Sugam Application
  1. It is a mobile application launched in order to locate Janaushadhi Kendras in an area.
  2. An affordable healthcare seeker can easily find these Janaushadhi Kendras and get medicines at substantially reduced costs.
  • Janaushadhi Suvidha
  1. The center has launched the oxo-biodegradable sanitary napkin at one rupee per unit price.
  2. It is launched to ensure ‘Swachhta, Swasthya, and Suvidha’ for the underprivileged women of this country.

PMBJP and the pandemic

  • The PMBJP is being employed effectively in times of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Pharmacists of PMBJK, known as Swasthya ke sipahi, have been delivering essential services and medicines at the doorstep of patients and the elderly under the PMBJP.
  • Over 3,25,000 people are using Janaushadhi Sugam App to locate PMJAKs to avail the benefits of the PMBJP.
  • Amid lockdown, many PMBJAKs are accepting orders from WhatsApp and E-mail by uploading prescriptions.
  • India plans to have district and block-level pathology labs attached to PMJAKs to improve healthcare infrastructure.

Conclusion

The working of PMBJP and PMJAKs during the pandemic shows that the schemes for the welfare of the vulnerable sections can pay a huge dividend at a time when the private sector is restricted. The PMJAKs have done a huge service to the people by expanding its ambit of working and making affordable medicine available during the lockdown and economic hardships. It is a glorious example of public sector initiative that is successfully serving the people when they need it the most.

Practice Question for Mains

What is PM Janaushadhi Pariyojana? Explain its significance in affordable healthcare (200 words)

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