The government controlled the price of over 800 medicines required for treating diseases such as cancer and tuberculosis, while the "jan aushadhi kendras" have helped people save money, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday, as he highlighted the Centre's steps in the health sector for the benefit of the poor and the middle class.
Modi also interacted with "Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana" beneficiaries via video-conferencing on the occasion of "Jan Aushadhi Diwas" and took feedback from them about the scheme.
The Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses. PMBJP stores have been set up to provide generic drugs, which are available at cheaper prices but are equivalent to expensive branded drugs in quality and efficacy.
In his address on the occasion, Modi said while people of other countries had to pay thousands for a vaccine dose, the government made efforts from day one to ensure that people do not have to pay for vaccines against Covid-19 and the free vaccination drive is run successfully.
"Our government has spent over Rs 30,000 crore on this, so that the people of the country remain healthy," he said.
Modi asserted that while the jan aushadhi kendras are centres for medicines for the body, they are also centres to provide relief to people as they help them save money.
He said the jan aushadhi kendras have reduced the anxiety of people over the cost of medicines.
"If we look at the figures of this fiscal, then medicines worth over Rs 800 crore have been sold from the jan aushadhi kendras. This means that this year itself, the poor and the middle class were able to save about Rs 5,000 crore...till now, about Rs 13,000 crore have been saved," Modi said.
"In this time of the Covid pandemic, the savings of about Rs 13,000 crore of the middle classes and the poor through the jan aushadhi kendras are a big help," he added.
The prime minister expressed satisfaction that such benefits are accruing to all segments of the society and in all parts of the country.
He also noted the success of the Re 1 sanitary napkin and said the sale of 21 crore sanitary napkins shows that the jan aushadhi kendras have made the lives of women easy all over the country.
Noting that as of now, more than 8,500 jan aushadhi kendras have been opened in the country, Modi asserted that these are not just any other government store but are now becoming solution centres for the common man.
The government has also controlled the price of more than 800 medicines required for the treatment of diseases like cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes and heart ailments, he said.
The government has ensured that the cost of stenting and knee implants is kept under control, Modi said, adding that with all these decisions, nearly Rs 13,000 crore of the poor have been saved.
"When there is a government that thinks about the welfare of the poor and the middle class, its decisions benefit all the common people who become ambassadors of such schemes," he said.
Pointing out that more than 50 crore people are in the ambit of the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, Modi said more than three crore people have received the benefits of the scheme, saving Rs 70,000 crore of the poor and the middle class.
The Prime Minister National Dialysis Programme has saved Rs 550 crore, he said.
Modi said a few days ago, the government took another big decision that will benefit the poor and middle-class children.
"We have decided that half the seats in private medical colleges will be charged at par with government medical colleges," he said, adding that this will save about Rs 2,500 crore of the poor and middle-class students.
Jan Aushadhi week is being celebrated across the country from March 1 to generate awareness about the usage of generic medicines and the benefits of the "Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana". The theme of the event is "Jan Aushadhi-Jan Upyogi".
Interacting with a beneficiary from Patna, Hilda Anthony, the prime minister asked her how she came to know about the Jan Aushadhi medicines and also enquired about the quality of the medicines. She replied that she has benefitted greatly from the medicines as she is able to get her monthly medicines for Rs 250 instead of Rs 1,200- 1,500 earlier.
Modi also called upon the literate segment of the society to talk about the benefits of Jan Aushadhi.
Interacting with another beneficiary, Suresh Chandra Behera, from Bhubaneswar, the prime minister enquired about his experience with the "Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana".
Modi asked Behera whether all the medicines needed by him are available at the Jan Aushadhi store, to which the beneficiary said he gets all the medicines from the store and saves Rs 2,000-2,500 every month. (With PTI inputs)