Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Health ministry pushes for end to sale of branded drugs

At last, thanks to Amir Khan (and forthcoming Elections), the
government has woken up.
Real freedom from the menace of looting via branded drugs will end
ONLY when GOI insists of reasonable prices on packages / strips (MRP)
as against high margin rates currently in vogue.


Health ministry pushes for end to sale of branded drugs
Kounteya Sinha, TNN | Oct 16, 2012, 06.12AM IST
Comments (205)

Medicines in India may not be sold under brand names in the near future.

NEW DELHI: Medicines in India may not be sold under brand names in the
near future.

In its biggest move to push generic drugs and do away with brand
names, the Union health ministry has ordered states to stop issuing
licence for the manufacture or sale of drugs on the basis of their
brand name.

All pharmaceutical firms applying for licence to market or manufacture
fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs will have to submit their generic
name and not as brands with immediate effect. The move will
substantially reduce medicines' prices.

For example, Crocin will cease to exist, and it will be marketed and
sold as paracetamol.

Drug controller general of India Dr G N Singh said, "We want to
gradually move towards a future where we will not issue any brand or
trade names. We are going all out to push generic drugs solely for the
benefit of the public."

He added, "We have sent the order to all state health secretaries
asking them to instruct their drug licencing issuing authority to
issue licences only on generic names and not on branded or trade
names, which is the usual practice now. A branded drug can be 10 times
more expensive than a generic variant."

The parliamentary standing committee in its recent scathing report had
also expressed strong objection to the practice of issuing licences on
brand names.

The matter was then taken up in the Drug Consultative Committee (DCC)
meeting on July 20, 2012.

A letter written by director in the health ministry Sanjay Prasad
says, "Instances were brought to the notice of the central government
that the licencing authorities of many states have been granting
licences for manufacture of new drugs, including FDCs, in violation of
drugs and cosmetics rules."

"It was reiterated in the DCC meeting that such license for new drugs
for unapproved FDCs must not be granted by any state licencing
authorities," stated the letter to state health secretaries.

The ministry has been going all out to promote generic medicines. It
has made mandatory for all doctors in the public sector to prescribe
generic drugs and not brands. Doctors have warned that strong action
will be taken against doctors found prescribing brands.

Low public sector availability forces patients to purchase medicines
from private sector, where prices are usually higher.

A World Health Organization study recently found that generic
medicines were available only in 20%-40% of public health clinics
surveyed. In comparison, 40%-60% of private health facilities had
adequate stock of generic drugs. The sub-national surveys were carried
out in Chennai, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and West

WHO said, "More than half of public facilities lack essential medicines."

Around 78% of healthcare expenditure in India is out-of-pocket of
which 72% is spent on medicines.

National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) records show that the
highest out-of-pocket expenditure on drugs is in Himachal Pradesh
(87.95%), followed by Uttarakhand (87.75%), Bihar (84%), Rajasthan
(83%), Uttar Pradesh (81.86%) and Chhattisgarh (81.38%). In larger
states like Maharashtra 60% of out-of-pocket expenses are for buying
drugs, Karnataka (65%), Delhi (74%), Tamil Nadu (66%), Madhya Pradesh
(71%) and West Bengal (65.80%).

India is also opening Jan Aushadhi, a countrywide chain of medical
stores, to make generic and other drugs available at reasonable

However, only few stores have been opened in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi,
Haryana, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.

The health ministry is also gearing up to make "Free medicine for all
through Public Health Facilities" in all government health facilities
a reality from next month.

The sharp increase in prices of drugs has been the main reason for the
rising costs of healthcare, which more than tripled between 1993-94
and 2006-07. Between 1993-94 and 2004-05, compared to a 67% rise in
real per person income and an 82% increase in per person tax
collections, real per person public health expenditure rose from Rs 84
to Rs 125. The paltry spending by states on purchasing drugs has only
compounded poor patients' problems.

Drug prices have also shot up phenomenally in India over the past
decade and a half.

India reported around 40% spurt in all drug prices between 1996 and 2006.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Health-ministry-pushes-for-end-to-sale-of-branded-drugs/articleshow/16831146.cms

Dr P Vyasamoorthy, 30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph
040-27846631 / 9490804278.

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