With 50 per cent exports and one in every five generic pills worldwide being produced here, India is now not just the pharmacy to the world but is also contributing in a big way towards making medicines affordable for people in many countries across the globe, Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, said on Friday.

The Health Minister was interacting with heads of foreign missions from almost 100 partner countries on Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana in the presence of Minister of External Affairs, S Jaishankar. Mandaviya invited the partner countries to look at the “best practices” here and “voluntarily implement them”.

India’s goal remains “on improving equitability, inclusivity and access and affordability of medicines and medical devices for our citizens and to the world.”

“Since 2014, the government has strived to provide affordable healthcare through interventions such as cashless treatment, establishment of Health and Wellness and popularising generic medicines through Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana,” Mandaviya said.

More outlets

Jan Aushadhi Kendras have resulted in huge savings in out-of-pocket expenditure for beneficiaries, amounting to approximately ₹20,000 crore (more than $2 billion) in past eight years. Number of outlets and the sales volume have increased by more than 100 times in past 8 years. On an average, 1.2 million persons visit Jan Aushadhi outlets every day. 

The Minister elaborated on the possibility of the Jan Aushadi model being replicated in other countries.

As a pilot, procurement of 50 fast moving medicines may be explored and this can be done by establishing linkages with Indian pharma exporters. Similar IT and supply chain systems, publicity strategies can be shared with other countries thereby reducing their import dependency on high-cost patented drugs.

According to S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister, health cost is central to the core of the governance and prosperity. “Even among developed countries, given the income disparity, the whole global debate on how to make health accessible has brought us together,” he said adding that in the globalised world, “Triple A linkage” of affordability, accessibility and availability must be focused upon.

“Global interdependence, inter-linkages can also provide solutions for everyone and this was witnessed during the pandemic,” Jaishankar said as he offered “necessary support to partner countries to help them establish and implement public centric schemes akin to Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana”.