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Q. Generic Medicines: Discuss the importance of generic medicines in the context of India and also outline challenges associated with it.
Apr 29, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

In News-

The central government is planning to bring the bill requiring doctors to prescribe generic medicines in place of costly, branded ones. (It was recommended by the Planning Commission’s High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage in 2011.)

Introduction-


A generic drug is identical or bioequivalent to a branded drug in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use. Though these are chemically identical to their branded counterparts, they are typically sold at low prices in comparison to branded drugs.

Importance of generic medicines in Indian context-

  • Cost difference between branded and generic drug is so much that even well to do people cannot afford a branded drug. In India a large population falls below poverty line and also affected with health related issues, hence generic drugs helps poor in accessing the essentials drugs.

  • The study by The Lancet showed that in health expenditures about two-thirds goes to for purchasing of drugs. Hence generic drug save a lot of expense on health not only of patients but also of governments, which run the public health care system.

Challenges-

  • The vested interest groups try to maintain the status quo on price and distribution by putting hurdles in the process, which may delay the intended law.

  • Due to large size of India’s pharmaceuticals market, the demand exceeds the supply. There is persistent problem of non-availability of specific drugs.

  • There is lack of awareness about the availability of affordable generic drugs to expensive brands.

  • Also there are many cases of violation of internationally recognised Good Manufacturing Practice standards by generic drug manufactures.

Suggestions-

  • Government should proactively help and promote generic drug manufactures by providing various benefits.

  • There is necessity to widen the access to generic drugs through Jan Aushadhi outlets, and also closely monitor professional practice to eliminate irrational prescription of drugs.

  • Regulatory authorities must ensure that all manufactures should meet the internationally recognised Good Manufacturing Practice standards.

Conclusion-

India being affected by both poverty and health related issues, hence access to essential drugs to needy section of the society is most important need. Government should do all those efforts to get easy access to the generic drugs. Also it should ensure all time availability of essential drugs in Jan Aushadhi outlets.


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