The WHO estimated that at least 30% of the world’s population lacks regular access to essential medicines, and the figure increases to 50% in the poorest countries of Africa and Asia (WHO, 2011). One of the most important barriers to access to medicines is their high cost.
WHAT ARE GENERIC DRUGS?
Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs that have exactly the same dosage, intended use, effects, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug. In other words, their pharmacological effects are exactly the same as those of their brand-name counterparts.
WHAT ARE BENEFITS OF GENERIC DRUGS?
- Since these are copies and don’t require departments like research and development, marketing etc. the price goes down drastically, making them affordable.
- Being a copy doesn’t make it inferior or ineffective, their pharmacological effects are exactly the same as those of their brand-name counterparts.
- Same drug standards and regulations apply for the manufacturing of these medicines.
- Generic drugs have proven to be a blessing to the continents like Africa.
- It is one of the most important measure to control the ever increasing total medicine expenditure in the world.
WHY GENERIC DRUGS ARE NOT POPULAR?
- Lack of awareness about generic drugs.
- They are cheap, people don’t buy them believing them to be of inferior quality.
- Misconception among masses that generic drugs are manufactured in poorer-quality facilities, without following medical standards.
- Most doctors except in government hospitals don’t hand out generic drugs.
- Private Doctors never hand out generic drugs because there are no incentives involved from pharma companies.
- The government’s Department of Pharmaceuticals is also to blame for the lack of awareness.
GENERIC DRUGS AND INDIA:
India has been an international contributor of the generic drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS, alongside various generic drugs used to treat cancer and various cardiovascular diseases and other LSDs etc.
- The world rely on affordable medicines made in India to stay alive.
- India is the world’s primary source of affordable HIV medicines.
- India is a main supplier of vaccines to UNICEF and to the Ministries of Health in more than 100 countries.
- India prioritized the life of individual over the patent of the medicine.
“Every physician should prescribe drugs with generic names legibly and preferably in capital letters and he/she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs”. These are the words of none other than Medical Council of India (MCI). Even The central government is planning to bring a legal framework under which doctors will have to prescribe generic medicines which are cheaper than equivalent branded drugs, to patients.
India is going forward only towards this generic drug and lifesaving issue. With the existing awareness, government contribution and recent amendments we are going to save millions of life making world affordably healthier.