The Centre is planning to open 40 ‘Jan Aushadhi’ shops, (peoples’ medicine shops) all over the country by March 4 where generic medicines will be sold at half the price of branded medicines. A few Jan Aushadhi outlets have already begun functioning in Punjab. The first such store was opened in Amritsar on November 25 last year, as part of a campaign begun by the newly created department of pharmaceuticals under the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers. Following Punjab government’s cooperation with the Centre, other states like Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar and Assam are also coming forward to set up Jan Aushadhi outlets, for which they have to provide space free of cost, preferably in a government hospital. In Delhi, a Jan Aushadhi shop will be opened in Shastri Bhavan which will be run by Kendriya Bhandar. It will be inaugurated by chemicals, fertilisers and steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan on February 5. This shop will remain open round the clock. “We have decided to provide post-surgical material too at reasonable rates,” Ashok Kumar, secretary, department of pharmaceuticals, said recently. Opening generic drug stores was decided at a meeting of the Pharma Advisory Forum chaired by Paswan on April 23. Kumar said, “I am going slow because I want to ensure uninterrupted supply of the required generic medicines.” Primarily, five PSUs

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