The newly opened chemist shop, which offers a whopping 57.2 per cent discount on branded drugs, was expected to provide big relief to patients. But a little over two weeks later, it is the old shops, where discounts vary from 15 to 30 per cent, which continue to be the crowd-pullers.
Lack of awareness among the general public about the shop’s USP, complaints of lack of stocks, and doctors allegedly prescribing drugs of particular brands are the reasons why the shop hasn’t really become popular.
The PGI administration had floated a tender last year, offering the shop to chemists who would give the maximum discount to patients. By offering 57.2 per cent discount on branded drugs and surgical items, city-based Shivangee Medicos got the tender.
Now, a little over two weeks, the chemist shop is not attracting many customers. Strangely, many of those making purchases from other shops do not know that the new shop offers a much higher discount.
Said Kanchan Rai from UP, “My husband is undergoing dialysis and I have spent about Rs 10,000 on medicines. I do not know about any shop which is offering 57.2 per cent discount. Had I known, I could have saved money.’’
Similar was the reply of Radhe Shyam. “I am a kidney patient and have purchased a medicine for Rs 500. I am a daily wage labourer. It is difficult to buy expensive medicines, but I did not know about this shop,” said Radhe Shyam, who bought the medicine from the adjacent shop.
There are many who went to the new shop, but did not find the drugs or equipment they needed and, therefore, went to the old shops. “I did not get two medicines I needed. So, I purchased these from another shop,” said Paramjit Singh from Mohali.
Another customer complained, “The shop does not have half of the medicines I needed. I bought these from another shop. One does not have so much time to move from one shop to another when you have a patient in the ICU.”
Shailesh Sanwaria, the owner of Shivangee Medicos, blamed the situation on doctors prescribing local brands and other particular brands “which at present are not available with us’’. He said they were having difficulty in getting stocks because of problems created by other chemists.