The Amrit pharmacy located on the premises of Advanced Cancer Institute in Bathinda. Tribune photograph
The Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (Amrit) pharmacy is proving to be a boon for cancer patients. Drugs are being given to them at a discount up to 80 per cent on the maximum retail price of the medicine. Opened on the premises of Advanced Cancer Institute, Bathinda, last year, the pharmacy was set up under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Amrit Pharmacy Yojana of the Central Government. The Union government is running the scheme in collaboration with HLL Lifecare Limited. Since the drugs are being purchased directly from the manufacturers and being sent to the pharmacies, the same are being given to the patients at discounted prices. Opened with the aim of subsidising the cost of medicines to make them affordable and accessible to all sections of people, medicines are being sold at discounts between 50 and 80 per cent. For instance, Irinotecan medicine is available in the market for Rs 4,239 but at the Amrit pharmacy, it is available for Rs 1,090. Trastuzumab injection’s MRP is Rs 55,577 but at the Amrit pharmacy, it is being sold at Rs 29,000. Another drug Rituximab is sold at Rs 18,000 at the pharmacy as against its MRP of Rs 36,000. Dr RK Mahajan, director, Advanced Cancer Institute, said, “Most of the medicines are available at the hospital’s drug store. In case a medicine is not available at the store, it can be bought from the Amrit pharmacy store. The store also offers medicines which are not covered under the CM Cancer Relief Fund free-of-cost.” He also added that a majority of the cancer patients undergoing treatment in the state are covered under the CM Cancer Relief Fund as part of which the bills of hospital services, medicines, operations and other procedures are debited from their relief fund of Rs 1.5 lakh given by the government. Drugs for all
- Anyone undergoing treatment at Advanced Cancer Institute can buy medicines from Amrit pharmacy.
- The MRP and the discounted price of the medicines have been uploaded on the Central server and this is referred to while preparing the computerised bill by the pharmacy staff. It rules out the chances of the patients being fleeced.
- Advanced Cancer Institute has only provided space to the pharmacy as the store is being run directly by the government. The Institute, however, has control over the pharmacy.