Sunday, April 22, 2018

The answer to high cost of drugs is “Adopt a one drug-one price-one company policy”

The recent comments of the Prime Minister on doctors in his visit to the UK have been widely criticized among the fraternity. Yes, he should not have spoken so.

But, let’s go back to his main allegation that doctors don’t write cheaper medicines.

There are two types of drugs in India: patented and non-patented. It is the non-patented drugs, which are called generic drugs. The only way to differentiate between the two is to give the drug a name, either a brand name or the name of the pharmaceutical company.

Unfortunately, the current policy in the country allows the same generic to be sold under three names: Generic-Generic, Trade Generic and Branded Generic.

Branded Generics are full-fledged branded drugs i.e. they are marketed under a brand name. Trade Generic drugs are high margin, non promoted brand generic drugs. The Jan Aushadhi drugs are generic-generic drugs.

Call them by any name, Generic-Generic, Trade Generic or Branded Generic, their quality is the same, what is different between them is their cost.

It is the government, which is allowing the one company to market a generic drug under three names (generic-generic, trade generic and branded-generic) and also at differential prices.

So, instead of criticizing doctors, the government ought to allow non-patented drugs at one price (one drug one company one price policy).

We respect the sentiments of our Prime Minister; he represents the collective consciousness of all citizens of the country.

But, I would like to say to him, respected Prime Minister Ji, if you want to reduce the cost of medicines, the solution is simple – “adopt a one drug-one price-one company policy”. Also request all doctors to choose NLEM drugs unless there are reasons not to write them.

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
Vice President CMAAO
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Immediate Past National President IMA

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