Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) has come up with a new initiative to give a boost to the languishing Jan Aushadhi Programme launched by the government 8 years ago. It has issued a directive to all the pharmacy colleges in the country to set up a Jan Aushadhi store in their premises. With this step PCI hopes at least 1000 Jan Aushadhi stores will come up by March 2017. Many colleges reported to have shown interest in establishing such stores in their premises as that may provide student pharmacists some experience in handling medicines. The PCI has also directed the state pharmacy councils to provide necessary guidance for setting up the stores to the college authorities. There is a statutory requirement for students to undergo practical training in pharmacy practice either in a hospital setting or in a community pharmacy. Now to have such an exposure to medicine dispensing during the period of their course would be a great advantage for pharmacy students.
Even after 8 years of its launch, Jan Aushadhi Programme is far away from achieving the objective of providing quality generic drugs at reasonable prices to vast majority of the Indian population. The failure is mainly on account of the inability of the Centre in establishing desired number of stores in different parts of the country. The original plan was to set up at least one Jan Aushadhi store in each of the 630 districts of the country. As the Programme dragged on over the years, this target was not achieved and government could open only 150 stores in 7 years and out of that only 85 were working until June last year. Many state governments have not been supporting the Centre in setting up such stores even in public hospitals. Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) had then set a target of 3000 Jan Aushadhi stores by March 2017. For this, the DoP is reported to have tied up with several NGOs, Trusts and Societies offering financial incentives. Discussions were also held with State governments of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam for pushing the Programme starting with the government hospitals. To what extend these efforts of DoP will bear fruits is something to be seen. However, PCI’s move to involve pharmacy colleges in Jan Aushadhi Programme appears to be somewhat promising. The Council needs to constantly follow up the implementation of the same with the college managements. For this, the managements of these colleges also have to come forward and support.