73 per cent cut at fair price medicine shop

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By snehal sengupta
  • Published 20.03.15
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A salesman checks out stocks before the opening of the shop. (Right) The decorated shopfront. (Saradindu Chaudhury)

A fair price medicine shop has opened in Salt Lake that will sell medicines at a discount of 73 per cent on the maximum retail price. Situated at Bidhannagar Subdivisional Hospital, the shop will stay open round the clock. 

Kalpana Medical Agency’s fair price shop, a joint collaboration with the state government, opened in DD Block, on the premises of the subdivisional hospital on March 16. “The chief minister had told us to prepare a list of priority requirements in Salt Lake and we had listed a fair price medicine shop as one. I am happy it has materialised. This was a long-standing demand from residents of Salt Lake as well as the added areas and it will benefit thousands of people,” said MLA Sujit Bose at the inauguration.

The shop currently stocks 142 types of medicines ranging from expensive antibiotics to routine painkillers. The huge discount is possible as the shop is a public-private partnership venture. The state government had floated a tender seeking an agency that would be able to sell medicines at the least prices and Kalpana Medical Agency quoted the best price, that of 73 per cent discount on the maximum retail price. 

The agency will be procuring medicines from drug companies that sell generic medicines at the lowest prices. They will also get subsidies from the government. This is what enables the massive discount. 

So if a patient goes to buy a paracetamol of a particular brand, he may not get the particular brand. Rather, the staff would study the doctor’s prescription, identify the composition of the medicines prescribed and hand over medicines of the same composition that may be of a different brand. 

“We will be giving out medicines based on their composition. Therefore it is advisable for customers to bring along their prescriptions so we can easily identify the medicines,” said Sanjay Das, a staff member of the shop. “We shall sell to customers who wish to buy a month’s supply of medicines but won’t allow bulk purchases. We do not want other medicine shops buying cheap stocks from us and selling them at a premium to customers.”

The shop does not provide oxygen or other medical aids and does not have home delivery facility. But for enquiry, one may call up 8336934790 or 8336934791.

The chief medical officer of health, North 24-Parganas, Dr Pralay Acharya feels that this fair price shop is a step in the right direction. “We are continually striving to provide better healthcare at government hospitals. This shop will be helpful to people across all strata of society. I also want more Salt Lake residents with BPL cards to pay Rs 30 and enrol for the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. Under this scheme, they can then avail of healthcare treatment worth Rs 30,000 in empanelled hospitals such as Bidhannagar Sub Divisional Hospital,” Acharya said.

Sub-divisional officer of Salt Lake, Pawan Kadyan, added: “We want to turn the sub-divisional hospital into a model hospital. This is possibly the first fair price shop in any sub-divisional hospital and I am very happy as it will directly benefit a lot of people.”

Residents are overjoyed. “I regularly have to buy medicines for my wife and myself, and now we shall be able to save a lot of money,” said Amitava Ghosh, a septuagenarian from AH Block.

But private medicine shops in the vicinity are downbeat. “We can never sell medicines at rates offered by this fair price shop. As it is, our profit margins have gone down and now this shop is sure to wean away hoards of customers,” said the owner of a medicine shop in the neighbourhood, asking not to be named.