IEP CHANDIGARH, March 9
The Punjab Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a non-official resolution to take up the matter of fleecing common man by fixing Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of medicines at exorbitant prices, with the central government. The non-official resolution was moved by MLA Dr Charanjit Singh during the ongoing budget session of 16th Vidhan Sabha here. After the reply presented by the Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Balbir Singh, all the members present in the house passed the non-official resolution to recommend this matter to the Central Government. During his reply, Dr Balbir Singh appreciated the resolution moved by MLA Dr Charanjit Singh and said that the issue was already in his mind. He said that, even, he had recently brought this matter into the notice of Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, who visited Patiala a few days back. He said that cancer drugs have already been regulated by the government, but non-scheduled drugs and e-pharmacy are yet to be regulated. He said that till these drugs get regulated, the easiest way to provide affordable medicines to common people is by opening maximum ‘Jan Aushadhi Kendras’ in the state. He said that there is 25 Jan Aushadhi Kendras in the state and 16 more have been approved, which will be opened soon. He also urged all the MLAs to maximum exhort people to open these Kendras in their constituencies, which will not only provide affordable medicines to the common people, but will also help in generating employment. “Health is fundamental right of every person and it is the duty of the state and the central government to provide world-class quality healthcare managed and funded by the government,” said Dr Balbir Singh, while adding that the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led Punjab Government is committed to provide the holistic healthcare facilities in the state. He also pledged in the Assembly to present his ‘Annual Report’ on what he has done— whether its recruitment of doctors and staff or new medical projects— during every Budget Session. He informed the assembly that there are 504 Aam Aadmi Clinics (AACs) made functional in the state, of which, 353 clinics, which is over 70%, are established in villages. Terming the drug menace as the most crucial issue of the state, the Health Minister called upon all the house members to show concern on this and join hands with the Government to root out this menace, which is not only the reason for many fatal diseases including Cancer, HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis, impotency, etc, but also a reason for crimes happening in the state. Meanwhile, the Health Minister said that the Punjab Government has been working on bringing reforms in the healthcare, wherein, instead of prescribing medicines, patients would be asked to join Yogshalas and exercise in the Government Hospitals to treat them naturally.