On the lines of Neethi Medical stores started by Kerala government under cooperative sector in 2012, the cooperative department under Tamil Nadu government has started ‘Amma Pharmacies’ to supply branded medicines to the public at concessional rates.
With this Tamil Nadu has become the second state in the country to start pharmacy retail outlets in the cooperative sector and the fourth one to commence dispensing stores in government sector exclusively for sale of drugs with low trade margin.
The initiative for sale of drugs on discounted rates started for the first time in India in Chitodgarh district in Rajasthan by the district collector in 2011, followed by Andhra Pradesh Medical Services Corporation started Jeevandhara Pharmacies for selling generic drugs on discounted rates. In February 2012, Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSCL) started Karunya Community Pharmacies to sell branded drugs on a marginal discount of 20 to 60 per cent to MRP.
The Amma cooperative pharmacies in Tamil Nadu will provide branded prescription drugs on 10 to 15 per cent discounts to the public, The chief minister inaugurated ten such retail outlets in the state on June 26, and ninety more will be opened shortly in various places where community pharmacies are small in numbers, sources informed.
Regarding procurement of drugs, sources said the cooperative department will directly purchase drugs in bulk from the manufacturing companies, so that it can sell the drugs on marginal discounts.
The cooperative department in Tamil Nadu is already running cooperative medical shops for the last 42 years and the outlets are functioning at the cooperative super markets. These cooperative medical shops stock all kinds of drugs and dispense the medicines at concessional prices. The medicines sold through these outlets do not have any sales tax and most of these shops are functioning round the clock throughout the year.