West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that 35 fair price medicine stores will be set up in state-run city and district hospitals to sell medicines at a 60 to 70 percent discount.
The move would help bring down the cost of medicines, thereby benefiting the end-consumers, especially financially disadvantaged ones, Banerjee said.
Banerjee also drubbed the Chemist Shop Owners' Association for keeping shops closed in protest against the opening of the fair price medicine shops in some hospitals.
"Why are you opposing the opening of fair price shops? What is the harm if poor people get medicines at subsidised prices?" she asked, inaugurating one such fair price shop at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Banerjee said that the stores were being set up by a tendering process and invited applications by private holdings, including the protesting shops, to bid for contracts.
"There is a tendering process and you are free to take part in it if you agree to sell medicines for the needy public at a discounted price," she said.