Tamil Nadu

Gujarat to adopt 'Amma Marundhagam' pharmacy model

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When populism comes with a welfare tag, it finds a pan-Indian attraction. This seems to be the case with the AIADMK government’s scheme to make essential drugs available to the people at affordable rates.

Taking a leaf out of the Tamil Nadu model, the Gujarat government is closely studying ‘Amma Marundhagam’ (Amma Pharmacy), a project to supply medicines to the public at subsidised rates.

Decision by year-end

Gujarat Chief Secretary D.J. Pandian told The Hindu that a team had already been working on this, and a final decision would be made by the end of this year. “We are very keen on this project,” he said. “Today, most of the pharmaceutical industries — both national and international — are based in Gujarat. So we thought why we can’t give generic drugs at cheaper costs,” Mr. Pandian said.

In Tamil Nadu, ‘Amma Pharmacy’ drugs are sold through co-operative departments. The medicines are sold 10-15 per cent lower than the retail price.

Asked about Gujarat’s operating model, Mr. Pandian said: “We have to wait for the findings of the study. But I can assure [you] that beginning 2015, we should have this running.”

One of the major concerns in Gujarat is the shortage of doctors. The government spends only three percent of its total expenditure on healthcare. Tamil Nadu spends four per cent.

Not many doctors

“We don’t have many doctors as Tamil Nadu does. So we have asked to recruit nurses and train them. For the routine diseases, these medical shops would come to aid. For the specialised diseases, people can come to hospitals,” Mr. Pandian said.

It is not just healthcare, the Gujarat team is evaluating various other social schemes too. “We are open to ideas from other States. But we can’t replicate everything,” Mr. Pandian said.

For instance, ‘Amma Unavagam’ (eateries) is a great success in Tamil Nadu, but this model would not work well in Gujarat, where the food habits were different, he pointed out.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 2:54:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/gujarat-to-adopt-amma-marundhagam-pharmacy-model/article6578165.ece

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