It has been around four years since the Central Government passed an amendment of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945 that ensured that registered medical practitioners dispense only generic medicines. Now, this holds for all the practicing doctors, including the ones functioning privately. The amendment also states that failing prescribes generics would attract “strict disciplinary action” against the doctors.
Unfortunately, the Union Ministry of Health and its regulatory arm Medical Council of India (MCI) cannot have failed to ensure that doctors write only generic medicines in their prescriptions.
The Prime Minister visited Surat to inaugurate the hospital in 2017, where he mentioned that “the government will make arrangements to ensure all doctors only prescribe generic medicines.”
The issue is that the branded medicines are made expensive <link back to blog 1>, and most Indians are not aware of it. Back then, the PM intended to benefit the crores of poor people by making it mandatory for doctors in government hospitals to only prescribe generics. It has been over three years since such an announcement and even passing the law. There aren’t many measures taken by the Health Ministry or MCI to ensure that the rule is followed correctly.
There are instances of patients not being prescribed generics and thanks to their awareness, they chose to visit Pradhan Mantri Jann Aushadhi Kendra. The lack of tracing mechanism blends with the unpatrolled medical infrastructure, making it possible for those at the higher authority to exploit the buyers.
We, at Medkart, are dealing with patients who are prescribed branded medicines by doctors. They also ask their doctors to see if they can prescribe generic ones, but the physicians caution them against taking generic medicines. Often, these medicines are expensive and unfortunately, patients have nowhere to go but to buy those medicines.
We already mentioned how big pharma companies lure doctors with expensive gifts like cars, iPads, etc. so that they can recommend the medicines of a particular brand. Understand that the margin in branded drugs is enormous. This holds for the drug manufactured by big companies as they have a robust selling network and deeper pockets to spend more freely to drive sales.
The typical catch for any pharmacist is to know which medicines do the doctors in the nearby vicinity recommend. If it’s the same brand that s/he suggests, it means that the doctor is getting commission from a particular pharma company. The cascading effect is that now the shop owners will also push a specific brand to customers and increase purchase.
This is where Medkart works to differentiate itself from other medical stores by following the AAA philosophy <link it to the AAA blog>. The idea is to make users buy medicines only after creating awareness regarding what they buy. There is a stark difference between the branded medicine and generic ones and when customers see this, they want to know more about generic. But, at a broader level, the pharma lobby is pressurizing the decision-makers in the Health Ministry that ensures demand for generic is kept limited. The higher demand and generic promotion will flood PMBJP and may well run out of stock.
You can get the generic medicines at the cost of one-tenth of the branded ones. While PMBJP has its roots in smaller cities, Medkart provides the right space for the people to get more knowledge of generics. On average, opting for generics has helped the nation to save 1,668 crores on medicine only under PMBJP. And, for us, there’s nothing more motivating than serving 3Lakhs+ customers so far and enabling Rs.1100Cr. of savings.
This is the loss that the branded companies made and a much-needed victory for people who made some great savings. With time, more people are aware of generics and ways to gauge the quality of medicines. Our range of WHO-GMP standard medicines on store gives buyers some options in generics and a better alternative to expensive, branded medicines that can burn a hole in the pocket.