August 16, 2010

Cheap medicine stores to open at 2 govt hospitals in Kolkatta

Here's some good news for people looking for quality medicines at affordable prices. Two government hospitals in the city will soon have drugstores that will offer generic medicines and costly cancer drugs at discounted rates.

An initiative of the department of pharmaceuticals under the Union ministry of chemicals and fertilizers, the subsidized medicine chain called Jan Aushadhi Stores (JAS) will sell the generic version of essential medicines at half the market price. The outlets, to come up at NRS Medical College and Hospital (NRSMCH) and MR Bangur Hospital (MRBH), will be thrown open to public on August 25.

Though some states like Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa already have outlets like these, this is the first time the state is going to have a JAS. The outlet at NRSMCH will be run by the Electro-medical and Allied Industries Ltd (EMAIL) while the one at MRBH will be run by Glucolate India Ltd (GIL).

"The outlet will be located at the Centenary Building ground floor and will be easily accessible. Renovation work is on in full swing. OPD as well as in-house patients will be able to purchase medicines from the outlet," said NRSMCH medical superintendent and vice-principal Dr L K Ghosh.

The JAS outlets will sell about 350 generic drugs, including tablets, syrups, injections and other products like surgical material. Generic medicines in categories like painkillers, antibiotics, cold and cough medicines and medicines for cancer will be on the shelves. Five PSU drug manufacturing companies, including Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals and Hindustan Antibiotics, will supply the medicine.

"We are drawing up the list of medicines to be stored in the JAS. The store will be opened round the clock," said EMAILmanaging director D C Pal.

Both the hospitals have chosen a centrally located space in the hospital premises for easy access. Adequate and attractive signage will be put up at these stores so that patients and their relatives do not miss these outlets. Doctors will also be asked to tell patients to get medicines from these stores.

"Many doctors tend to prescribe branded medicines. That is partly because most medical stores do not stock generic medicines these days. But once the JAS takes off, doctors in the hospital have to prescribe the medicines by the generic name. There will be strict instruction on this," said MRBH medical superintendent Dr Subhasish Saha.

Some of the scheduled drugs provided free to poor patients at government hospitals often run out of stock. Doctors at these hospitals said they could acquire medicines from JAS to tide over the situation during such crisis, as medicines at these stores cost less than half of what is prevalent in the market.

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