The move is part of a new business plan to promote sale of low-cost medicines and to overcome the challenges in increasing the number of Jan Aushadhi stores -- the pharmacy chain initiated by the government in November, 2008 for making generic drugs available at affordable prices to all.
"Under the new plan, the process of identification of operating agencies has now been simplified and entities other than those identified by the state governments are also proposed to be appointed as operating agencies for running the Jan Aushadhi stores," Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Kumar Jena said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
As per the new plan societies, trusts, unemployed pharmacists, entrepreneurs, etc would be eligible for appointment as operating agencies, he added.
"Stores would now be opened even outside the hospital premises. Basket of drugs has now been widened to 361 drugs covering all therapeutic categories," Jena said.
As per the new plan, state identified agencies would continue to get initial grant of Rs 2.50 lakh, where as others would get sales linked incentives ie 10 per cent of the monthly sales subject to a ceiling of Rs 10,000, he added.
"With a view to promote generic medicines for the North Eastern and difficult areas, this assistance would be 15 per cent of the monthly sales, subject to a ceiling of Rs 15,000," the Minister said.
Since its launch in 2008, 157 Jan Aushadhi stores have been opened out of which 93 are currently functional.