Jan Aushadhi Scheme

The Jan Aushadhi scheme is under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilisers.

There has been no concrete announcement for ensuring the availability of free generic medicines. This is a critical area of concern as the NSSO data tells that nearly 70 percent of the out-of-pocket (OOP) burden is due to expenditure on medicines. Making free medicines available in all public health facilities will substantially impact the credibility of the public health system and strengthen utilisation.

In the Union Budget 2017-18, there is a proposal for amending the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, highlighting the intent of the government to ensure availability of drugs at reasonable prices and promoting use of generic medicines. However, this alone may not substantially impact reduction of OOP expenditures. The Jan Aushadhi Scheme was introduced in 2008 for ensuring enhanced availability of medicines at affordable prices to all, especially the poorer sections. The allocation for this scheme remains low, though it has been more than doubled in this budget from 2016-17 BE. Jan Aushadhi Scheme has now been renamed as “Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana” (PMBJP). So far, 683 PMBJP stores have been opened in the country whereas the commitment in 2016-17 budget was to open 3000 Jan Aushadhi stores across the country.