The State of Generic Medicines in India
Generic medicines are equivalent to brand-name medicines with respect to dosage, strength, the process of administration, quality, performance and intended use. The difference lies in the drug being marketed under its chemical name without any brand name under which it is sold. The Indian government had begun encouraging more generic drugs being manufactured by Indian companies in the early 1960s and later with the Patents Act in 1970.
In fact, the code of ethics issued by the Medical Council of India in 2002 directs physicians to prescribe drugs by only their generic names. At least 90% of the Indian domestic pharmaceutical market comprises of drugs sold under brand names which amount to over Rs. 1,00,000 Crore. This means that there simply aren’t enough generic name equivalents being sold.
Generic medicines as an alternate opinion
A generic drug, just like a branded equivalent, is approved only after certain rigorous standards established by the FDA have been met. It includes the identity, strength, quality, purity, and potency of that formulation. So, all generic manufacturing, packaging, and testing sites must pass these quality standards, just like brand name drugs.
The only difference between a brand-name medicine and its generic version is the cost. The issue in India boils down to trust. Big pharmaceutical brands like Cipla, Pfizer, Sun or Dr Reddy’s, with a field force of nearly one million medical representatives, have done an excellent job of building this trust in their companies and brands. So it’s understandable that it’s difficult for doctors or customers to transfer this trust to generics, manufactured by unknown companies.
Generic medicines are cheaper
Generic drugs are cheaper than the branded ones because of the exclusion of the usual expenses associated with developing and marketing a new drug. When a new drug is introduced in the market by a company, they’ve already spent a substantial amount of money on research, development, marketing and promotion. Securing a patent ensures exclusive selling right of that drug to the company for a stipulated period of time.
As the patent nears expiration, manufacturers can apply to the FDA for permission to make and sell generic versions of the same drug but without the initial costs. Therefore, they can afford to make and sell it at a cheaper price point. If multiple manufacturers are involved, the competition can further drive down the price. So the generic variants work as fast and as effectively as the original brand-name medicines.
Generic medicines have received a new impetus
Prime Minister Modi himself has been active about advocating the usage of generic medicines. As per the government mandate, doctors will now be required to prescribe generic formulations of medicines and not specific brands. This is expected to bring down drug prices and expand access to affordable health solutions.
The latest National Sample Survey Office survey on healthcare (2014) stated that medicines were the principal component of total health expenses, in both rural and urban areas. In such a situation, even a modest drop in drug prices will liberate hundreds of families from this medical trap. In addition, this policy also safeguards the health of the generic drug manufacturing industry — one of the largest suppliers of low-cost medicines in the world.
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The company’s goal is to provide quality healthcare to everyone, everywhere and affordable to all. StayHappi Pharmacy offers high value to its patients with a wide range of medical services including, medicinal needs, body and healthcare products, doctor consultation, surgical items and medical devices.
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