After having gone through various arguments for and against generic and branded drugs, I had to enter the field with my opinion in this regard. It has been made out through these letters that doctors would never like to prescribe generic drugs and they are making a living out of the mercy of pharmaceuticals which is absolutely not correct.
Let us see as why doctors would prefer to write branded drugs. Branded drugs are manufactured by pharmaceuticals which are well-known and as such these drugs are supposed to be of good quality, dependable with least impurities, and if something goes wrong, at least there is an address to complain.
Generic drugs, which do not have any particular name other than the ingredients, are manufactured by companies which are not known, whether the drugs manufactured by them have the ingredients mentioned in the packing is also doubtful. Whom to address if something happens?
This does not mean that all branded drugs are of good quality or that all generic drugs have no quality at all. But who has to decide? When a generic drug is prescribed, the chemist in the medical store will decide what to give depending on the margin of profit. If the patient does not have the expected results, whom to blame?
All doctors who prefer to write branded drugs are not greedy. There are any number of branded drugs, whose price are almost equal to generic drugs and are cost-effective. Of course, there are a few who write expensive drugs, because of so many reasons but the patient has the right to ask for an equivalent cheaper drug and if the doctor does not oblige, the patients have to change their doctor.
In US and other western countries, the generic drugs which are supplied mostly by the Indian companies have the same quality as the branded drugs available there. Who has ensured the quality in India? No doctor is averse to prescribe generic drugs if the government certifies about the quality. The health of the patient is his doctor’s responsibility. How can he prescribe a drug whose quality is not known and put the patient’s health in jeopardy?
The best way to solve this problem is to see that the generic drugs that are available have the same quality as the branded drugs for which government has to stand guarantee. Reduce the prices of the drugs and put a ceiling on the prices of branded drugs. The doctors should write only those brands which are cost-effective. Ultimately, the health of the patient should not suffer.
- Dr. M. Premanath, Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine and Diabetes, Madhuvana Layout, 12.6.2017