What are generic & branded medicines
Generic medicines are those which are sold by the names of the actual medicine salt they contain (the one which you see in the ingredient lists of the tablet strip or syrup bottle).
The concern had been that big pharma companies manufacturing these under their brand name make huge profits. There are expectation, by letting patient buy generic rather than brand, a better price will be ensured. But will this actually happen in today’s situation? Will quality be ensured? The plain and simple honest answer is NO.
Let’s start will a simple scenario. You buy a soap by asking for a “soap” or you trust a company brand name. The answer is we shortlist one company name after deciding about its quality and authenticity by media or personal experience. So can we leave all important decision of buying medicines on shopkeeper, in this case chemists?
There is widespread doubt that doctors write medicine with some motive. The answer is yes, there is a motive behind. As an expert professional, doctors go through the research and manufacturing standards of that medicine. They study various scientific studies and patient outcomes. They discuss their clinical experience in the peer groups. They write a prescription with a simple motive of providing a good quality medicine as they are held responsible for clinical outcome. They do not act as brand ambassadors for that product like people endorsing a product brand in TVs after taking a hefty fees (which people do not mind). Tell me what motivates s a famous actor to endorse a product? Fees or a scientific study of that product but we do not crib about that and happily follow their endorsement.
Problem is if a doctor writes a generic name of Medicine, in present situation it will shift the privilege of deciding which medicines patient will be getting, to chemists. Now what is guarantee that chemist decision will not be influenced by profit margins. There are almost no generic available in Indian markets and when we say generic is actually a brand generic!!
Confused!! Rightly so.
So if a doctor writes a generic name, then chemist will decide which brand he or she will be dispensing. So decision will shift from doctor to chemist. Is it a comfortable thought?
That’s why the doctors association are asking government, first to take out all loopholes so that patient get generic medicine with cost benefit without compromising on quality. So all branded should be gradually phased out and all medicines with same constituents will be available on same price for all manufactures following same quality standards. This will be like a situation where buying milk there will be only MILK written (Not Amul, mother dairy or any other brand) as prices and standards will be same. Till then let’s do not do anything in haste which can badly backfire.
Let’s start trusting doctors.
Dr Gaurav Bhardwaj
MS ( Ortho), MCh ( Liverpool), FRCS (Orth) UK
MRCS ( Edinburgh), AFRCS (Ireland)
Chief – Arhtroscopy & Knee and Hip Replacement
Deptt. Of Orthopaedics.