HLL Lifecare will invite private parties to open stores to bolster its network
Low cost Amrit drug stores will go the Jan Ausadhi way in the new year with HLL Lifecare planning to call for franchises.
Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) is an initiative of the health ministry under which it has tied up with the tie-up with government-owned HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL). HLL is deputed to establish and run the AMRIT chain of pharmacies across the country. AMRIT stores sell cancer, heart disease and other expensive drugs at a 30-40 % reduced cost.
While for now all 150 AMRIT stores are in government hospitals, the idea now is to broad base it to make affordable drugs more accessible for poor patients.
In January 2018 health minister J P Nadda said AMRIT stores will go up 4 times. That did not happen
“In January we will call for franchisees. It can be somebody looking to open a new store or even one with an existing store. Once they have been designated as a franchisee owner they however have to exclusively sell AMRIT products,” said a top HLL official speaking on conditions of anonymity.
The franchisee model is similar to that followed by the Jan Ausadhi scheme of the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers which sell generic drugs. The scheme has been on since 2008 but has failed to generate much traction.
AMRIT on the other hand sells branded drugs at a cheaper price by cutting down on the supply chain commissions and also benefiting from the volumes.
However in 2018 AMRIT has not quite met the targets that it had set for itself – at the beginning of the year health ministry J P Nadda had said that the target is to increase AMRIT stores by four times. This was when the number of stores was 111. That the stores have stopped at just 150 is one of the reasons why HLL is now looking at the franchisee model, sources say.