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PM push for generic drugs to shift focus to chemists, says Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance

PM push for generic drugs to shift focus to chemists, says Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance

NEW DELHI: Patients may end up with drugs that “may not be effective at all” if doctors were made to prescribe only generic medicines as indicated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to pharma industry body IPA.

The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) said that due to the nature of the current off-patent medicines market in India, if such a step were to be followed, the choice of products will be shifted from doctors to chemists, not patients.

Elaborating on the challenges, IPA Secretary General told PTI that India is predominantly a market of off-patent medicines with two types of products — generic and similar.

“This difference has significant impact on the public health. A generic is safe and effective, but a similar may or may not be safe and effective as it has not been tested,” Shah said.

Reacting to Modi’s remarks that government may bring in a legal framework under which doctors will have to prescribe generic medicines, he said: “The prescribing in the INN (International Nonproprietary Names) — popularly referred to as generic — will enable chemists to substitute products of different manufacturers.”

Shah further said the choice of product will be shifted from doctors to chemists, not patients.

“As the patient is unaware of the difference between a generic and a similar product, he/she may end up with products that may not be effective at all,” he added.

Yesterday, while inaugurating a charitable hospital in Surat, Modi had said: “We will bring in a legal framework by which if a doctor writes a prescription, he has to write in it that it will be enough for patients to buy generic medicine and he need not buy any other medicine.”

IPA represents top Indian drug makers like Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy’s, Lupin, Glenmark, Cipla and Cadila, among others.

Analysts are also of the opinion that there could be some “practical problems” with the announcement.

“If the doctor only prescribes the generic name, it will be left to the chemist to decide which particular brand to push. So, the marketing focus of pharma companies will now have to shift from the doctor to the chemist,” said Pharma Sarabjit Kour Nangra, Vice-President, Angel Broking.

She felt that most pharma experts believe that this change may be feasible in government hospitals but not on a pan-India basis.

The last time when the government had attempted something similar was in 1978, but the idea had to be shelved after the pharma industry challenged the order in court, Nangra said.

“If the step is to be implemented, the pricing pressure on the industry is here to stay. Overall logistics and implementation could be the key,” she said.

Source: PTI
3 comment(s) on PM push for generic drugs to shift focus to chemists, says Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance

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  1. Just as we, the patients, trust our health in doctors\’ hands, we must trust the doctors to prescribe the most effective drug to us. We cant be made to depending on the chemists\’ discretion

  2. user
    DR B S KAKKILAYA April 20, 2017, 12:42 pm

    It is indeed very sad that our PM,a knowledgable man of high integrity,and wisdom has supposedly made an off the cuff remarks over the usage of generic drugs.I am sure that,being a commoners man,he should realise dangers of taking such a step without a very thorough study of the Pros and Cons.Drugs Controller Of India and the concerned Dept have, knowingly or unknowingly, allowed mushroom companies in thousands all over the country,without ensuring implementation of all the mandatory requirements.Quality Controll, and Infrastructure have been definitely
    Compromised in most cases.NOW IT IS ENTIRELY UPTO OUR BELOVED PM TO ENSURE QUALITY GENERIC DRUGS OF LOWER PRISES ARE MADE AVAILABLE.IF SO,IT WILL IMMENSELY BENEFIT THE COMMON MAN.
    FIRST STEP WILL HAVE TO BE TO BAN ALL BRANDED DRUGS !!!.
    HE HAS TO ENSURE THAT ALL THE MUSHROOM COMPANIES ARE SHUT DOWN,WHOEVER FAILS MEET THE STRICTEST QUALITY CONTROLL MEASURES AND ALL NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE.
    WITH THIS NEW LAW ABOUT GENERIC DRUGS, now the focus has to shift from the Doctors to the MANUFACTURERS AND THE CHEMISTS.A DOCTOR NOW CANNOT INSIST ON DRUGS FROM ANY PERTICULAR COMPANY.PATIENT TOO HAS NO SAY IN CHOOSING THE COMPANY.CHEMIST WILL DECIDE WHICH DRUG TO DISPENSE.HE WILL NATURALLY OPT FOR A DRUG WHICH FETCHES HIM THE MAX PROFIT.WE CAN NOT BLAME THEM TOO FOR TWO REASONS: 1.THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE COMPANIES GOODs OR THE BADs. 2.THEY CAN NOT ASSESS THE EFFICASY OF THE DRUG ,THEY ARE DISENSING
    MORE OVER WHAT ABOUT THE THOUSANDS OF COMBINATION DRUGS ? HOW WILL DOCTORS PRESCRIBE AND HOW WILL THEY BE DISPENSED ?
    DIFFERENT COMBINATIONS WITH DIFFERENT DOSAGES OF DRUGS ARE AVAILABLE ?HOW TO PRESCIBE THEM ?
    A DOCTOR WILL NOW HAVE TO SPEND MORE TIME IN WRITING A PRESCRIPTION THAN ON EVALUATING THE PATIENT !!!.
    MCI WANTS ALL PRESCRIPTIONS TO BE IN CAPITAL LETTERS.SO SOME MORE EXTRA TIME IN WRTING DRUGS !!!.
    AFTER ALL THIS,IF A SUBSTANDARD DRUG IS DISPENSED BY THE CHEMIST,THE RESULT ON THE DISEASE PROCESS ,THE PATIENTs LIFE AND THE TREATING DOCTOR CAN BE DISASTROUS !!!! WHO WILL ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SAFETY OF THE PATIENT ?.. THE PATIENT HIMSELF?, THE DISPENSING CHEMIST ?
    THE TREATING DOCTOR ?
    THE DRUGS CONTROLLER OF INDIA ?
    THE STATE GOVERNMENT ?
    THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT?
    NO,NONE OF THEM WILL BE THERE.DOCTOR HIMSELF WILL BE THE VICTIM,ULTIMATELY !!!
    HOPE A DOCTOR\’S VOICE OF CONCERN AND ANGUISH WILL REACH OUR HONOURANLE PM .

  3. user
    Dr. R. K. Prasad April 24, 2017, 3:32 pm

    Very well said, Dr Kakkilaya. This matter is too very serious and fraught with dire consequences if implemented in haste. This needs to be decided after much thought and debate. To end this on a lighter note , why not ban Brand names of all consumer commodities like for example,cosmetics, food items, alcoholic beverages etc and introduce generic names for all of them !?. God save the humanity if such a thing is enforced without a good public and professional debate..