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Call to phase out branded drugs in India Posted 02/06/2017

Doctor and patient associations have come together to suggest that the Indian Government phase out branded generics and ban differential pricing under different brands to promote generic drug prescriptions.

The statement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a policy to be introduced by the Indian Government that would require doctors to prescribe generic formulations of medicines, as opposed to specific brands. The policy aims to move towards creating a formal legal framework for such a practice in the country.

The Medical Council of India had already reiterated that doctors should prescribe medicines using the generic name and said that violations could lead to action under the law.

The All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) urged the government to gradually phase out branded drugs, so that all medicines (except patented drugs) were available under the same generic name and thus make it impossible for doctors and pharmacists to push specific brands.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), along with the Federation of Medical Associations of India, also recommended banning differential pricing for generics under different brand names (generic–generic, generic–trade or generic–brand) but from the same company. During an emergency meeting, IMA said drug manufacturers were making profits by selling the generic version of the same medicine under different trade names when there was no difference in its quality or efficacy. They added that ‘all physicians SHOULD prescribe medicines with generic names, legibly and preferably in capital letters and he or she SHALL ensure rational prescription and use of drugs’.

Both IMA and AIDAN also recommended various other measures, including strengthening quality control measures to ensure adherence to good manufacturing practices as a measure to promote good quality affordable drugs.

AIDAN also criticized the government’s Jan Aushadhi stores, which were first opened in November 2008 [1], as being ‘merely a tokenish measure’. The government aims to set up a mere 3,000 Jan Aushadhi pharmacies by the end of 2017 compared to the 500,000 pharmacies already existing in India.

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1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Indian government to launch own brand of generics [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2017 Jun 2]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Pharma-News/Indian-Government-to-launch-own-brand-of-generics

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