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AIDCOC urges Indian pharma cos to charge reasonable prices on all generic drugs

A Raju, Hyderabad
Saturday, April 6, 2013, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

While welcoming the recent Supreme Court judgement over not granting patent to Novartis for a generic cancer drug, the All India Drugs Control Officers Confederation (AIDCOC) has expressed concern over excess pricing of generic medicines by the pharmaceutical companies in the country.

In the context of Supreme Court judgement, the AIDCOC had also demanded that the Indian manufacturers of generic products too must not price their products at exorbitant rates as the generic versions of the medicines cost less compared to the branded ones.

For instance if the manufacturer is incurring a cost Rs. 13.50 to produce 10 capsules of 500mg, when it comes to the market the same product is priced exorbitantly at around Rs. 83.50. This is nothing but exploiting the poor patients as they have no choice but to buy the product. Because of this, in India majority population in the rural areas are becoming debt ridden and slipping into poverty. It is high time that the MNCs and major drug makers realize their responsibility towards the society and extend their helping hand for a healthy society, opined Uday Bhasker, AIDCOC general secretary.

Generic drugs are bio-equivalents and their market price is less than branded products as producing the drug do not require the company to make any investment in research and development.

Generic drugs are widely prescribed in government hospitals, private nursing homes where consumers can’t afford branded drugs. “The MRP (Maximum retail price) on the strips are marked almost 100 times that of their actual costs, 20 per cent profit margin is allowed but beyond this is unacceptable,” said the secretary.

Today many Indian companies are producing huge quantities of generic medicines and supplying to not only the domestic markets, but also making huge profits by exporting these products to other developing and advanced countries. Though there is a long standing demand for a uniform pricing policy for drugs from drug controllers and consumer forums, the strong lobby from the pharma industry is resisting it. So far the government has identified only 348 drugs in the National List of Essential Drugs but there is a strong need to add more drugs to the list.

Many manufacturers are now slowly stopping the manufacture of essential medicines covered in the essential drugs list citing unviability and creating an artificial demand and medical crises which is unethical. At least with this landmark judgement of Supreme Court the Indian manufactures should introspect and consider the affordability of the common man, opined Bhasker.


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