oppn parties Prescribing Medicines by Generic Names

News Snippets

  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
  • For the first time in history, Darjeeling loses first flush tea due to suspension of garden work for Covid-19 outbreak
  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
Total count stands ar 3082 as India records 16 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in a single day
oppn parties
Prescribing Medicines by Generic Names

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2016-05-02 16:28:24

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage of the erstwhile Planning Commission had recommended five years ago that it should be made mandatory for doctors to prescribe medicines by their chemical names instead of brands. The government is now considering notifying the same. If this happens, it will be in line with what is being followed in all major countries (see accompanying picture).

In India too, this matter has been taken up several times. But each time, the strong drug lobby has scuttled the idea. In the process, branded drugs, which are priced much higher than their generic versions, continue to be prescribed by doctors and patients are made to spend much more. It also gives rise to unhealthy competition between drug companies which leads to corruption as doctors are lured into writing particular brands through payment of cash and other incentives by these companies.

Two things need to be kept in mind before generic names in prescriptions are made mandatory. One, the quality of drugs manufactured by small companies need to be thoroughly monitored. It is rumoured that most of these companies reduce the dosage – for instance, only 400mg of the drug is provided in a tablet marked for 500mg. Further, distribution and availability has to be spruced up for it to benefit the common man. Otherwise, even if the doctor prescribes medicines by their generic names, chemists will continue to push branded products as drug companies will incentivize them instead of the doctors.

In this regard, the government’s initiative to strengthen the Jan Ausadhi outlet network is welcome. But it needs to be kept in mind that the earlier effort to establish such stores had failed miserably as just a few states had really taken interest in the same. Apart from Jan Ausadhi outlets, local chemists should also be made part of this initiative. If brands are not prescribed, distribution and publicity costs of most big drug companies will come down drastically. If this cost is passed on to the customer, drug prices will come down without affecting the profitability of the company. Apart from unscrupulous doctors, it will be a win-win situation for all.