India makes cheaper generic drugs prescription compulsory in public hospitals
Indian health ministry has asked all the public hospitals and autonomous medical institutions to compulsorily prescribe cheaper generic versions of branded drugs.
Whenever any branded drug is prescribed in the central government-funded hospitals and autonomous institutions under the Ministry, it shall invariably also be mentioned that any other equivalent generic drug could also be provided.
Generic medicines are therapeutically equivalent copycats of usually costlier branded medicines. Brand names are generally costlier because they are usually patent-protected and are not restricted by any price control.
Drug companies also sell drugs using their brand names charging a premium. Generic versions of most of the branded formulations are available in the market. Because their action and other properties are similar to that of any branded drug generics can be substituted for any branded medicine.
With the prescription of generics being made mandatory the hospitals could have the flexibility of providing cost-effective versions of generic equivalents of the prescribed medicine.
The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has taken in the light of the fact that generic drugs are usually much cheaper than branded drugs, according to a release by Press Information Bureau, under the government of India.
This will also curb the often observed practice of prescribing specific brands of medicine with a rider that no substitute should be supplied.
The Directorate General of Health Services will regularly monitor the prescriptions in the above mentioned institutions for the compliance of the Order, the release said.
India’s western state of Rajasthan has recently started an initiative that all the public hospitals would start prescribing cheaper generic drugs promoted by the government through its Jan Aushadhi programme, instead of the usual branded formulations of commonly used drugs.
The government of Rajasthan has already issued guidelines to the doctors in the government hospitals to prescribe generic drugs.
The ambitious Jan Aushadhi programme has been started by the government of India to ensure availability of medicines at low cost to the common man across the length and breadth of India.
The chemicals and fertilizer ministry, under the government of India, which oversees the drug sector, was planning to supply unbranded generic versions of all essential medicines at a price about 50% less than they cost in the market through setting up a chain of round the clock retail outlets in all districts of the country.
Under the scheme, the government provides the space needed to set up the medicine outlet free of cost, apart form a credit facility for medicines for 45 days, to a non-governmental organisation that will be responsible to run the shop.
Unbranded versions of generic medicines (sold under the chemical name), including popular antibiotics, pain-killers, cough and cold medication were to be sold at these ‘Jan Aushadhi’ stores. The medicine for these retail outlets were to be sourced from the public sector drug manufacturers including Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, Hindustan Antibiotics, Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals and Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals.
India government is planning to supply cancer drugs also at discounted rates to patients through public retail outlets meant for low-cost generics.