Govt fair price drug stores fail to take off in JK
Jammu, Oct 29: The much hyped proposal to open government run medicine stores in Jammu and Kashmir has not been able to see the light of the day with the powerful ‘drug lobby’ hampering the project well before its take off.
Sources said that the proposed fair price shops called Jan Aushadhi Drug Stores (JADS) were to be opened across the State to make quality drugs available for the common man at genuine rates. But even after a couple of years since the central sponsored scheme was announced for the State, the project has failed to take off due to the pressure from powerful drug manufactures and distributors.
Officials said that in the first phase, these shops were to be opened at SMHS Hospital, Srinagar, Government Hospital Gandhi Nagar and one each at Leh and Kargil. Later the facility was proposed to be extended to district headquarters and further at Tehsil and block level health institutions.
The `drug lobby’ in Jammu and Srinagar have successfully managed to put the scheme on hold. “Most of the medicines are being supplied through the distributors-pharma companies nexus which is too strong to break. The private companies will never allow such stores to become a reality as the State has provided a lucrative market for medicine consumption”, said a source.
He said that the Union government had asked the Indian Red Cross Society to open four stores in the State in the first phase and the requisite licenses were also issued in the name of the concerned hospitals.
Even the draft drug policy which has been formulated by the State government and waiting the nod of the Cabinet has a provision to open four drug stores in the State where generic drugs would be provided to the people on reasonable prices .
Few months back, the Government had also constituted a committee under the Chief Secretary to formulate a comprehensive scheme for the establishment of drug stores in the state for supplying low cost, high quality generic medicines to the people.
Minister for Health Sham Lal Sharma however said that they have started the process. “We have sought help of central government and these low cost drug stores would be established soon. We are also concerned about the problems being faced by the common man due to increasing prices in the medicines in recent past”, Sharma said
There is greater concern over the dumping of spurious and sub-standard medicines in the market and close surveillance was necessary for the well being of the people.
A senior official from the Health Department said that major benefit of opening of these shops would be that quality medicines, at affordable prices would reach to the people particularly the poor, who are the main sufferers of the rising medicine prices.
However, he also questioned the criteria under which the drug stores were sanctioned for the state. “The stores are supposed to cater to the need of poor and downtrodden people but the rural population has been ignored by the Union ministry and instead the stores have been approved for the urban areas”
In recent years, Jammu and Kashmir has invested crores of rupees in strengthening basic health infrastructure in the state, particularly in rural areas. With increase in the health budget , a number of pharma companies have created markets for their products here, with many of these dumping low cost drugs in the market. The government has however failed to nip the rising nexus.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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