Coimbatore: The number of Jan Aushadhi Kendras in the district has increased to 83 from 53 in the past six months. The beneficiaries are patients, who could now easily access quality medicines at affordable prices.
The scheme, launched by the Union government, aims at providing generic medicines at affordable prices. According to consumers, medicines are cheaper by 50% to 90% at the Jan Aushadhi Kendras.
V Subramaniam, 72, of Kannampalayam, who has been buying medicines for heart disease from a Jan Aushadhi Kendra, said, “I have had heart problems for the past 10 years.Earlier, I was buying medicines from the general medical shops, spending around 2,000 a month. But now I spend only 380 a month, thanks to the Jan Aushadhi Kendra.”
Initially, he had concerns about the quality and first bought medicines only for 10 days as a sample. “After using them, I realized that the potency of these generic medicines is the same as the expensive branded medicines available in the open market. So, I continue to buy these medicines and have recommended them to my relatives and friends as well,” he said.
S M Balusamy, 53, of Somanur, is another resident who has benefitted from the central government scheme. “I have blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid and neurological problems. I also need to take medicine for a heart problem. I need to take Vymada 100mg tablets twice a day, requiring 60 tablets a month. A strip of 14 tablets costs around 900 in other medical shops. However, here one strip costs only 200.”
Balusamy said he was spending 17,000 on medicines a month earlier. “Now, I am buying the same medicines from a Jan Aushadhi Kendra for 2,500. It is a huge saving for me.”
D Aravindswamy, senior marketing officer, Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana, said more people were now coming forward to open Jan Aushadhi Kendras in Coimbatore. “Another 25 shops are set to open in the district.”
He said the Jan Aushadhi Sugam mobile app was making it easier to locate the nearest Jan Aushadhi Kendra and search for medicines. “It has various user-friendly options, such as comparing prices of generic versus branded medicines in terms of MRP and overall savings.”
Aravindswamy said the generic medicines were as effective as the branded medicines. “When a medicine is first developed, the pharmaceutical company that discovers and markets it receives a patent on the new drug. The patent usually lasts for around 20 years, giving the company a chance to recoup its research investment. After the patent expires, a generic version of the drug becomes available.”