Editorials, Uncategorized

Cure for high medicine bills: A generics prescription law

Context

  • The central government is considering the introduction of a law to make it mandatory for the doctors to prescribe generic drugs

Why

  • So that everyone can access affordable medicines
  • from state-run Jan Aushadhi stores.

What is Jan Aushadhi stores?

  • ‘Jan Aushadhi’ is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals in association with Central Pharma Public Sector Undertakings, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses.
  • Jan Aushadhi stores have been set up to provide generic drugs, which are available at lesser prices but are equivalent in quality and efficacy as expensive branded drugs.
  • Generic medicines are unbranded medicines which are equally safe and having the same efficacy as that of branded medicines in terms of their therapeutic value.
  • The prices of generic medicines are much cheaper than their branded equivalent.

What is the future plan?

  • To set up 3,000 Jan Aushadhi stores across the country this year, current Union Budget promise.

Main issue.

  • A good chunk of Indian population is not able to afford the branded medicines which are priced very high.
  • Doctors doe not prescribe generic medicines and instead refer the branded counterparts.

Government proposed an ordinance or Act of Parliament

  • To ensure that doctors prescribe generic drugs or include a clause ‘or equivalent generic drug,’ when doctors prescribe a branded drug

The BPPI is responsible for implementing the Jan Aushadhi programme which was launched in 2008.

What is BPPI?

  • BPPI (Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India) has been established under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. of India, with the support of all the CPSUs for co-coordinating procurement, supply and marketing of generic drugs through the Jan Aushadhi Stores.

Main focus is accessibility, affordability and availability.

But if doctors will not prescribe generic drugs sales won’t take place.

Pharmacists should have the option to give the generic substitute

Reason for building jan Aushadhi stores?

  • Ex-factory cost of medicines are low
  • People get the drugs which are marked up multiple times owing to supply chain costs and incentives for medical representatives.
  • The Jan Aushadhi stores will be able to provide drugs at Rs. 19, if the ex-factory cost is Rs. 10. For which people are giving 100 rupees.

Solutions

  • Remembering a generic drug for combination drugs like PCM gets a little tricky.
    • create an IT-enabled prescription system that automatically includes the formulation of such drugs when a doctor prescribes a branded drug out of habit or because they don’t know the exact formulation
  • A law will be more effective than directives from the Medical Council of India asking doctors to write generic drug names.
  • State governments should asked to focus on buying generics drugs rather than expensive branded alternatives

Current position

  • Jan Aushadhi stores had opened in 16 States, and there are 283 stores in 22 States and Union Territories at present.
  • BPPI will set up ten times the existing number of stores this year.
  • Over 100 private pharma firms have enlisted to supply generic drugs.

Additional Points

Other initiatives taken by BPPI (Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India) to control the drug pricing are:

  • Price control of Scheduled Drugs through the National Pharmaceutical pricing authority (NPPA):Under the Drug Price Control Order, 1995, NPPA): Under the Drug Price Control Order, 1995, NPPA has been given the mandate to control and fix the maximum retail prices of a number of scheduled/listed bulk drugs and their formulations, in accordance with well defined criteria and methods of accounting, relating to costs of production and marketing .Notably therefore, the prices of these medicines have remained quite stable and affordable.
  • Price regulation of Non-Scheduled Drugs: Apart from the scheduled medicines under DPCO, 1995, the NPPA monitors the prices of other medicines not listed in the DPCO schedule, such that they do not have a price variation of more than 10% per annum. This has further helped in keeping the prices of most of the non-scheduled medicines stable and affordable.

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