In a move that could be a decisive move to break the doctor-pharmaceutical industry nexus, Indian PM Narendra Modi has indicated that a legal framework could be introduced that could force doctors to prescribe drugs using generic names only.
The use of generic names will fuel growth of generic drugs – drugs which are equivalent to branded drugs in all aspects including dosage, quality, safety, strength, performance, route to administration, and intended use. The main reason the Modi government is pushing the use of generic drugs is that they are much cheaper than the branded variants. One key hurdle to increased penetration of generic drugs is the patents that are afforded to drug’s original makers. Generic drugs can only be introduced in the market after the patent expires.
Modi said at a hospital inauguration ceremony in Surat, Gujarat, that the government will be bringing 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. He said that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that everybody in the country gets access to best health services at minimal cost and the latest move is a step in that direction.
The Prime Minister said his government brought in a health policy after 15 years and capped the prices of 700 medicines and stents, which has angered some pharmaceutical companies.
“We have also capped the prices of stents used in heart ailments,” he said. “We have done this work, and you can imagine how angry the manufacturers of medicines will be.”
He said the government has implemented the ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Pariyojna’, where people get generic medicines from stores at reasonable rates. Stressing on preventive health care, he said if people adopt it, they will not have to visit hospitals.