THE INAUGURATION of the Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (Amrit) outlet, coming up at PGI, is still awaited even as the government owned HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL), which is managing the outlet, has hired employees for the store, who have been sitting idle since March 1.
Earlier, the PGI had said the Amrit outlet, which will provide drugs for cancer and cardiovascular diseases at lower prices, would be inaugurated by Health Minister J P Nadda on February 28. The inauguration, however, couldn’t take place as the minister’s visit was cancelled due to the budget session in Parliament.
On Wednesday, when a Chandigarh Newsline team visited the store, the employees hired by HLL for the outlet said they joined the duties on March 1.
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“We come daily in the morning and then leave at 5 pm. It was to be inaugurated last month, but it didn’t happen,” said one of the employee, who did not wish to be named.
He said eight persons have been hired for the store. “As there is no work to do, we make people who come to the store more aware of the Amrit initiative,” the employee said.
Another employee said that they check the prescriptions of the people who visit the store to see which medicines are in
“We are not aware exactly how much discount will be provided here, but we heard that it will be 50-60 per cent,” said the employee.
The PGI has provided space to HLL at the Nehru hospital of the Institute. While the outlet is ready, HLL says that they are in process of setting up another shop adjoining the outlet and both would be inaugurated together.
“One outlet is ready. The work is on in full swing in the another shop that was handed over to us by the PGI a week ago,” a senior HLL official told Chandigarh Newsline on Wednesday. “Once it is over, it would be inaugurated by the Health Minister.”
The PGI said it was the HLL who has to start the outlet. “Our job was to provide the space and we have done that. It is now upto them when would they start the outlet,” said Dr. Arvind Rajwanshi, head, Department of Cytology and gynecological pathology, PGI.
Dr Varinder Garg, OSD to Union health minister at PGI told Chandigarh Newsline that “some steps” have to be taken by HLL before it could be inaugurated. “I don’t think the work has been completed by HLL. They have to take some steps before the inauguration,” he said.
The health ministry launched the country’s first AMRIT outlet at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi in November last year. Under the Amrit programme, officials said that more than 200 drugs are being sold by lowering the prices by 60 to 90
A PGI doctor said besides the cheaper medicines, patients would be able to get cardiac implants as well at lower prices.