Millennium Post

Opting for generic medicines should be voluntary, says IMA

The confusion to opt imported patented drugs or Indian generic versions still prevails among the buyers and doctors, as the Medical Council of India ( MCI) has issued a circular saying physicians should opt for Indian generic versions while Indian Medical Association (IMA) recommends prescribing the drugs should be voluntary.

The doctors are of the opinion that till the production and marketing of branded drugs are allowed in the country, its prescription cannot be banned. They should be banned only after the government stops issuing licenses for their production.

IMA national President Dr KK Aggarwal said, "The patented drugs are introduced in the market by the original company that researched the basic molecule."

"Let us take the example of Pfizer, which introduced two original molecules - Amlodipine and Sildenafil – and launched them in the international market as Amlogard (Amlodipine) and Viagra (Sildenafil). Being their research molecules, Pfizer had exclusive rights for 10 years based on their patent. These drugs are called patented drugs and the pharmaceutical company will have exclusive rights to them till the patent expires," he added while clarifying.

Dr Aggarwal said, "After 10 years as the patent period expires, other companies can also market these molecules under their own brand name or as generic molecules. These are called non-patented generic version of the drugs."

There is no difference by law in the quality of generic or patent versions of the drugs.

Dr Aggarwal said, "When we are asked to write the generic name of the drugs, this means that we should write the generic version of the drugs and not the patented drugs still marketed in India."

"Why to write imported patented versions, when Indian generic versions are available?" he asked.

"India is the largest exporter of generic versions of the drugs in the world as they can manufacture drugs at a fraction of the cost compared to international brands," said Dr Kuldeep Kumar, Assitant Professor, GTB Hospital. The word 'Brand' has nothing to do with the words 'generic' or 'patented' drugs, he added.

"The nexus between the doctor and pharma companies plays a pivotal role in creating the significance of imported drugs over generic version," he added.According to Kumar, "What is the justification for prescribing expensive patented drugs, when the generic versions are available at a fraction of the cost".
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