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Millennium Post

On Ammaturity

Even as the whole of India hails loudly the Gujarat model of development, the silent revolution is really happening in Tamil Nadu, where, under the aegis of chief minister J Jayalalithaa, welfare state and subsidised public services are making a spectacular comeback. Even though many critics of Jaya have rubbished her slew of Amma brand services, including Amma canteen, Amma mineral water, Amma salt and now the latest Amma Pharmacy, as mere publicity gimmicks, the fact of the matter is that the people, particularly the lower and middle classes, are extremely happy with the cheap, high-quality food, water and salt that the chief minister has made available to the wider public. The food offered at Amma Canteen is not only delicious and prepared in hygienic manner using the best quality grains and vegetable, it has made simple, wholesome home-style cooking almost fashionable in the southern state, especially among the office-goers and students. As Amma Canteens fuse welfare with wellness, Amma Pharmacy is slated to take public services to a whole new level.

     Access to medicine remains one of the critical lacunae in the Indian healthcare sector and with US patent laws trying to muscle their way into Indian pharmaceuticals market, the generic drug industry is waging a serious battle against US-led Big Pharma. Amma Pharmacy is the CM-launched chain of drug stores that will provide important life-saving medicines to patients at 10 per cent discounted rates. The state-run outlets, now 10 in all but designed to touch over 100 stores in months to come, would not only bring hundreds of thousands into the ambit of better and affordable healthcare, it is also a brilliant maneuver to counter the pharma industry’s pricing model, which is simply geared towards profiteering. By popularisisng cooperative medical stores that will stock up branded drugs in bulk and sell them at lower prices would not only reconfigure the top-down model of medical market in the country, but also become an exemplary decision for those hitherto marginalised.  
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