FGSCDA wants govt to bring rule forcing doctors to prescribe generic drugs

Suja Nair Shirodkar, MumbaiWednesday, August 3, 2011, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Federation of Gujarat State Chemist & Druggist Association (FGSCDA) recently submitted a representation to the commissioner of Gujarat Food & Drugs Control Administration (FDCA) demanding the Central government to adopt a rule to force doctors to prescribe generics along with branded drugs so that patients can have an affordable choice in healthcare.

The FGSCDA submitted this representation to the government at the Drug Consultant Committee (DCC) meeting that was held recently at the Gujarat FDCA's office which was attended by FDCA officials, FGSCDA and IDMA Gujarat state board members.

According to Jashvant Patel, president, FGSCDA, alarming percentage of doctors in the country are involved in the practice of prescribing only branded drugs to the patients which are costlier compared to their generics.

“Today all the major drugs are available at lower prices in the market. But, these drugs are seldom prescribed by the medical practitioners and that raises the question of accessibility of affordable medicines in the country. The government should take pro-active steps to ensure that healthcare is made more affordable to the patients.”

In the US and European countries, law makes it mandatory for the doctors to prescribe both generic and branded drugs to the patients so that they can buy it according to their affordability. However in India which is the largest producer of generic drugs in the world, patients are forced to buy only branded drugs because the doctors prescribe so.

Patel informed that as per the current rules, a chemist cannot change the prescription of a doctor by substituting a branded drug with a generic drug even if the chemist has the stock of both the drugs.

“Generic drugs are 50 to 60 per cent cheaper than the branded ones and  adopting a rule forcing doctors to prescribe generics can give the power of choice to the patients rather than forcing them to go for a costlier option,” added Patel.

Sources inform that doctors prescribing only branded drugs is a part of the MNC lobby that is always against the generic drug industry. However, concerns are being raised over such practices as it is the patients who are suffering in the end.