Even after 14 years of its launch Jan Aushadhi medicines have not taken even 0.5 pc of Pharma Market?
Why so when Jan Aushadhi medicines bear very genuine price tags as compared to branded generic medicines?
Annual Report 2021-2022 of the Department of Pharmaceuticals Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers GOI mentions that (i) Indian pharmaceutical industry is known for its generic medicines and low-cost vaccines globally. (ii) India provides generic medicines to more than 200 countries (iii)8 out of 20 Global Generic companies are from India(iv) India Pharma Sector output in 2020-21 was expected to be Rs 4,27,109 Crore (v) Despite the country being one of the leading exporters of generic medicines to the world, the majority of Indians lack sufficient access to affordable medicines. The branded generic medicines are sold at significantly higher prices than their un-branded generic equivalents, though they are identical in their therapeutic value (vi) During 2020-21, total pharma export was Rs 180555 cr against the total pharma import of Rs 49436 crore. Going by that stands / data for general information purposes it could be said that Indian pharma sector output consumed in India could be around Rs 4,27,109 Crore less Rs 180555 Cr i.e. Rs 246564 Cr plus the drug value pumped in Indian domestic market out of Rs 49436 crore worth of Branded drugs / Branded Generic drugs / Technical Grade material ( Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient- API ) imported for making drugs. Even taking the pharma industry output only limited around Rs 246564 Cr and it may not be an overestimate that the cumulative bulk on the basis of the MRPs marked in the trade would in no case be less than Rs 4,00,000 Cr.
The drugs manufactured and trade in the in pharmaceutical sector are in general classified in three categories i.e. 1.Generic Drugs :- generic drug can be said a pharmaceutical drug that contains the same chemical substance as a drug that was originally protected by chemical patents and are allowed for sale after the patents on the original drugs expire because the active chemical substance is the same, the medical profile of generics is equivalent in performance (said to comprise largest trade segment of 70 to 71 % ). A generic drug may differ in some characteristics such as the manufacturing process, formulation, excipients, color, taste, and packaging. 2. Over the Counter -OTC (19 to 20% trade segment ) and they are mostly patent free India there is no enforced restriction for sale of drugs against prescription only and hence over 90% drugs can be said to be free from any patent rights ( particularly Allopathic )and hence 90% medicines sold in the Indian market could be considered as patent free worth selling as Branded generic/ Generic (Branded generics are also defined by the agencies like FDA and National Health Service as products that are (a) either novel dosage forms of off-patent products produced by a manufacturer that is not the originator of the molecule, or (b) a molecule copy of an off-patent product with a trade name) or under Generic name (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient). 3. “Patented medicines” sold under only brand name of originator (8 to 9 % trade segment ) of the originator of the molecule. Going by these standards it could be said that 90 % medicines sold in India are patent free and can be manufactured and sold through outlets/shops competitively without any patent obligations to any third party like the Jan Aushadhi Kendra / PMB Janaushadhi Kendras shops that were earlier fed and operated under the franchise of Bureau of Pharma PSEs of India – BPPI , a society registered under Registration Act, 1860 on 01-12-2008 , in terms of Jan Aushadhi Campaign ( under which first Jan Aushadhi Kendra had been started on 25-11-2008 in Amritsar ), by Department of Pharmaceuticals ( Ministry of Petroleum & Chemicals GOI) and now under the franchise of Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Bureau of India -PMBI (Chemical & Fertilizers and New & Renewable energy ) in terms of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana(PMBJP). So it could also be said that out of Rs 400000 Cr MRP label worth market around Rs 360000 Cr drugs are being sold Indian domestic market that are free from any patent rights / as generic branded or generic medicines. It was only due to the reason that the trade practices adopted by the pharma companies were not fair to the extent that even the patent free medicines were being sold by some manufacturers with very very unreasonably inflated price tags with the help of some prescription writers ( even 300% to 700 % higher than what a genuine MRP should be ( as is also being presently “displayed in the banners at PMBJA Kendras) India Government entered in direct pharma trade in 2008. The Jan Aushadhi Pariyojna is now in it’s 15th year and even if we take that the MRP at drug Aushadhi stores is 50% less than others in the ‘ patent free drug trade’ Indian patients ( rich or poor ) could be said to be still being unfairly fleeced by nearly Rs 170000 to Rs 180000 Cr in a year even after 2008 since as per Financial Report 2021-22 of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Bureau of India ( PMBI) that is handling the marketing of the medicines & medical devices sold under the banner of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) of Deptt. of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Govt. of India, Revenue ending year 31 March 2022 has been only Rs 567.58 Cr (Rs 567, 57,93,922 /=) only and ending year 31 March 2021 it was Rs 430.1 Cr only (Rs 430,09,73,403). The revenue of Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Bureau of India ( PMBI) includes sales of medical devices as well as surgical appliances. So it could be said that the Pariyojna has not succeeded in relieving the unfair trade burden on the common man inspite Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking very very intimate interest for promoting the sale from Jan Aushadhi Kendras after 2016-17, and if so, then “WHY”?
To be continued
(The author is Sr Journalist, social activist and analyst J&K affairs [email protected]).