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Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai January 12 , 2018
When the Union health ministry is giving more and more approvals for opening as many Jan Aushadhi Medical Stores as possible, the implementing agency has to consider various options to take the scheme forward and make it healthier.

“Government wants to increase the number of outlets, but it seems that it does not want to raise the quantum of medicines required for the people. Lack of proper marketing strategy retracts the entire project. The scheme needs a marketing mechanism for its success,” according to a marketing expert, who also served in the drugs control administration in Tamil Nadu.

Quoting reports that the central health ministry has given approval to open 36,000 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) Kendras across the country, the expert said BPPI must first establish a concrete basis for developing the project which entails an efficient procurement system, a smooth supply chain management and a strong marketing mechanism. Without complying with these three factors BPPI cannot develop the scheme in a vast country like India.

He said BPPI claims that they have 700 varieties of drugs for supplying to various outlets of Jan Aushadhi Kendras. But less than 250 formulations are available to the public from any JAS store now. There is short supply of about 500 categories of medicines always in the already opened outlets of the PMBJP. Even those 250 medicines which are available in the market through PMBJP Kendras are supplied partly, month by month. BPPI has to streamline the supply chain first before shouldering more burdens.

While interacting with Pharmabiz, the expert said the scheme of Jan Aushadhi medical stores is a welcome initiative by the central government for the people of the country, but it lacks proper management from top to the bottom level. It has to be looked into for the success of the project.

When asked if any suggestion from his side to make the scheme more efficient, he said if it has to be succeeded for long, the implementing agency should tie up with some state-run procurement agencies like Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation (TNMSC) which caters to the needs of not only of Tamil Nadu but also of certain other states on contract basis. Without having contract with procurement agencies, BPPI cannot take the ambitious project forward.

Secondly, the scheme lacks a proper planning. Many multinational companies (MNCs) have succeeded in achieving large-scale market leadership because of their good business planning. Similarly, BPPI must also appoint their C&Fs in each state, set up go-downs and engage distributors wherever required. For the time being, BPPI can utilize the facilities of Central Civil Supplies go-downs in each zonal level and state civil supplies go-downs in the state levels in agreement with respective governments.

“We should learn the key marketing strategy from the multinationals. Their business is progressing because of their planning. PMBJP can progress well if BPPI can make all stocks available in the stores always. Essential medicines, vaccines and medical devices should be in the stock in all the outlets. It is a herculean task to streamline the supply to the already existing three thousand retail outlets. BPPI’s new strategy of ‘End-to-End supply’ system cannot be made a successful supply service in the near future until infrastructure facilities are established,” he told Pharmabiz.

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