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Posted at: Mar 29, 2017, 1:29 AM; last updated: Mar 29, 2017, 1:29 AM (IST)REALITY CHECK

Jan Aushadhi Kendra no relief to most patients

Stocks are not regularly updated at Civil Hospital centre; doctors continue to ‘prescribe branded drugs’

Key objectives of Jan Aushadhi Kendra concept

  • Promoting greater awareness about cost-effective drugs and their prescription.
  • Making available unbranded quality generic medicines at affordable prices through public-private partnership.
  • Encouraging doctors, more specifically in government hospitals, to prescribe generic medicines.
  • Enabling substantial savings in health care, more particularly in the case of poor patients and those suffering from chronic ailments requiring long periods of drug use.

Scarce medicines

  • Saroj Bala, a patient who had come to the gynaecology department, said the doctor had prescribed her four medicines, of which only two were available at the centre.
Jan Aushadhi Kendra no relief to most patients
The Jan Aushadhi Centre at Civil Hospital, Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28

The concept of Jan Aushadhi Kendra, which was launched at government hospitals to provide patients with medicines at affordable rates, has miserably failed to serve its purpose at Civil Hospital, Ludhiana. Only 20 per cent patients at Civil Hospital are able to benefit from this facility.

The first problem faced by the Jan Aushadhi Kendra at Civil Hospital is that the stock is not updated regularly. Second, doctors prescribe branded drugs. Both these factors contribute to making the facility at Civil Hospital a fruitless venture.

During a visit to the hospital, The Tribune team was shocked to see no visitors at the window of the Jan Aushadhi Kendra. After waiting for around 15 minutes, a patient arrived at the window, handed over his prescription slip to the person manning the counter, but had to return empty-handed. When asked, the patient said the medicine prescribed by the doctor was not available here, so he was left with no other option but to buy medicines from medicals at higher prices.

Harish Narain, another patient, said he needed titanium plates for the ortho surgery of his mother but those were not available at the kendra. “Neither medicines nor articles required for indoor patients are available here. The entire concept of Jan Aushadhi Kendra seems futile,” he said.

Ensuring availability of quality medicines at affordable prices to all was the main objective of the government behind setting up Jan Aushadhi Kendras. Generic versions of medicines that are required on a day to day basis are available here.  A generic drug is a chemically equivalent and low-cost version of a branded drug, costing 30-80 per cent less. A branded drug and its generic version have the same active ingredient, dosage, safety, efficacy, usage directions, quality, performance and intended use.

Generic medicines are available at Jan Aushadhi Kendras and the list of medicines available here is also provided to the doctors of Civil Hospital, so they can prescribe medicines according to the salt, not brand. 

Payments to firms pending for years: Samiti

“It is very sad to see patients returning empty-handed from the Jan Aushadhi Kendra. The main purpose of setting them up was to serve patients, so they can get medicines at affordable rates. The stock is not updated regularly and sometimes, doctors also prescribe medicines by brand names, which makes its existence futile,” said Shiv Ram Saroye, a member of the Rogi Kalyan Samiti, which runs the Jan Aushadhi Kendra. 

Saroye said medicines were not coming from certain companies due to pending payments. “Payments to some pharmaceutical companies are pending for more than three years,” he said. Although copies of the list of medicines available at the Jan Aushadhi Kendra is given to all doctors, they prescribe medicines other than those. Apart from antibiotics, all other medicines are available here, he said. 

“We have been insisting on stocking articles required by patients, so they don’t have to go out to purchase them, but our request has fallen on deaf ears,” he added.  Despite repeated attempts Dr Kulwinder Singh, Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, could not be contacted for his comments.

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