Shri Sachin Kumar Singh
Taking reference of the scenario that 6 out of 10 people of the population do not have access to the branded medicines and that India is within the first four countries of the world producing quality generic medicines and exporting to more than 200 countries, Sachin Kumar Singh, CEO, Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings ofÂ India (BPPI),Government of India says, â€œPradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) is a scheme designed to bridge the above dichotomy. It is dedicated to, provide quality medicines at an affordable price to every citizen of the country, irrespective of all cast, creed and economy. The intention is to provide health security to our countrymen, at the earliest, as soon as possible.
What is your perspective on quality medicines at affordable prices as envisaged in Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)?
Every year around 6.3 crore Indian population falls below the poverty line due to spending on medicines. PMBJP is a groundbreaking scheme in the healthcare sector. It comes as huge relief to our citizens byÂ providing more than 700 quality generic medicines through more than 4000 PMBJP Kendras across the nation. Medicines available under PMBJP are priced 50% to 90% less than that of branded prices.
While we are bringing down the out of pocket expenditure on medicines, we are also ensuring every citizen of our country has access to qualityÂ and affordable healthcare. The tremendous increase in the number of PMBJP kendras across the nation is an indicator of the success and popularity of this revolutionary scheme. Also the scheme is generatingÂ employment by engaging individual entrepreneurs in opening of Jan Aushadhi Kendraâ€™s. It is creating a silent revolution in the country.
What initiatives need to be takenÂ to expand Pradhan Mantri BhartiyaÂ Janaushadhi Kendras so as toÂ reduce out of pocketÂ expenses inÂ healthcare.
PMBJP has become largest organized pharma retail chain in world by having more than 4,000 kendras across the country. Still a number of 4,000 is small for country like India. It should be expanded to suchÂ a vast level so that every citizen of country can easily visit a PMBJP Kendra. We have taken a target to open 4,000 PMBJP Kendras by October end. We aim to open a PMBJP Kendra in each block of the country.Â Applications are being invited for opening PMBJP Kendra in uncovered blocks of country.
Please share your vision and road map on the PMBJP with reference to the challenges in terms of unawareness on generic medicines.
Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs that have exactly the same dosage, intended use, effects, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety and strength as the original drug.
People across the globe trust the utmost quality of generic medicines that are manufactured in India. Almost 80% of medicines used in USA are generic. Out of 6 medicines consumed in America, one is manufactured in India.
But in India generic medicines are less popular. I want to tell people that Jan Aushadhiâ€™s generic medicines are of utmost quality. They are no way less than branded medicines. They are procured from top manufacturers only. Even doctors also trust the quality of PMBJPÂ medicines as many of our PMBJP Kendras are being owned by doctors. Medicines available at PMBJP Kendras are of world class quality as they passes through rigorous quality checks before it reaches PMBJP Kendra.
Please share your plans to upgrade supply chain services for speedyÂ delivery of products to stores in time to come.
Supply chain is our utmost priority. In order to make all medicines available at each and every point, across the country, an advanced supply chain management system has been applied at the central warehouse. This system is helping us in avoiding a stock-out situationÂ at our PMBJP Kendras.
Earlier PMBJP was distributing medicines through 8 C&F agents and 54 distributors across the country, now we are upgrading to end to end distribution model through SAP enabled software. By this model weÂ tend to supply Kendras directly from our warehouse without any intermediaries. This will shorten the time in which medicines reaches Kendras and will also clear out any leakages. We have started a state of art warehouse of 65,000 sq ft area in Bilaspur, Gurgaon. Also, we will be opening regional warehouses across India. First Regional Warehouse has become functional in Guwahati and second one in Bangalore
will be functional by end of this month.
Our Supply Chain services is aided by strong softwarebased solution for auto dispatches to stores in time to come. We have established a state of the art cold chain facilitated ultra-modern central ware house forÂ maintaining integrity of quality.
Products are quality assured, since procured from WHO-GMP certified organization and CPSUs. Each batch is sent for testing at NABL, and only after clearance from the NABL, products are released for human consumption through exclusive supply chain network through Jan Aushadhi Kendras.
Please tell us about the new state of the art cold chain facilitatedÂ ultra-modern central ware house (CWH) for maintaining quality of drugs.
The new CWH is one of its kind warehouse in India set up according to WHO approved guidelines. Temperature and condition at which a medicine is stored is very important parameter for maintain the stability of medicine. For storing the Insulin, vaccines and other injectable products a cold chain is required. BPPI CWH has special dedicated cold chain area of 1500 sq ft where temperature within the range of -2 toÂ 8 degree Celsius is maintained. And the products kept in this area are transported via cold chain system only.
How can the demand for generics be created considering the fact that consumers and patients have no clarity about generics in the present scenario?
Creating awareness about generic medicines through education and publicity to counter the perception that quality is not synonymous with high price.
We are trying to make this popular by conducting workshops in every state in collaboration with doctors and Indian Medical Association (IMA). Time to time various advertisements are being carried out through using various channels like print media, Radio/FM and hoardings. Recently PMBJP has also adopted digital media for communicating to people. Social media channels are being used to post information regarding PMBJP medicines/benefits of generic medicines and how much saving one can do by using PMBJP Medicines
What are your plans in terms of covering other therapeutic groups to cater to overall health care system in the country.
Presently product basket of BPPI covers medicine of all major 23 therapeutic groups. Presently basket consist of more than 700 medicines. We are trying to increase the basket to make available every commonly prescribed medicine available in PMBJP Kendras. We are also in the process of improving surgical and consumable products range available under PMBJP. Recently we have introduced Glucometer at Rs 480Â only which has become very popular among diabetic patients. Even glucometer strips which are available in market at average price of Rs. 450 is available in PMBJP Kendras at price of Rs 225 for pack of 25 strips.
Most of the women across the country are forced to use cloth and other unhygienic materials during their periods as they cannot afford sanitary napkins. At present the average market price of 4 sanitaryÂ napkins is Rs 32 and PMBJPâ€™s unique sanitary napkins Janaushadhi Suvidha come as a special gift to all the women as this product is available in PMBJP Kendras at a price of Rs. 10 for pack of 4. Jan Aushadhi Suvidha comes with a special additive, which makes itÂ biodegradable when it comes in contact with oxygen after being discarded.This will ensure â€˜Swachhta, Swasthya and Suvidhaâ€™ for the underprivileged Women of India.