A few years ago, while inaugurating a private hospital in Rajasthan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that prescribing medicines in generic names shall be mandatory for all medical practitioners.
This was strongly protested by many in the medical profession. Following this, the Union Ministry of Health informed that though a generic prescription is a must,brand names can be mentioned in parentheses. But, this again deviated from prescribing generic names with an intent to exclude branded names from prescriptions.
This way, the Indian pharmaceutical industry has created an environment where branded drugs are considered superior to generic ones in terms of quality and efficacy. But, customers need to pay more attention to the availability of different generic drugs that are also cost-effective.
About Generic Medicines
Generic medicines in India are a cost-effective alternative to branded medicines, as they are chemically identical and have the same safety, quality and efficacy. These medicines are made available at lower prices than their branded counterparts, making them a viable option for those who cannot afford expensive treatments. Generic medicines can be found in both government and private hospitals, as well as pharmacies.
Generic medicines are an important part of healthcare and can provide significant cost savings for consumers. They contain the same active ingredients as brand-name medicines but may have different inactive ingredients, different dosages, and different labeling. Knowing how to identify generic medicines is important to ensure the most effective treatment at the lowest cost.
Promoting generics through color coding
The use of color codes to identify generic medicines and keeping them in stock is of no use as a chemist has no compulsion to keep generic medicines in stock. There is a wide difference in prices in generic medicines. The generic manufacturer often gives huge trade discounts but fails to reach the buyer. A chemist will always push medicines that offer more margin even if the generic medicine of that company remains higher than other generic medicines.
The Indian pharma companies have formed a brand popularity culture in the pharmaceutical industry. Earlier, the government of India proposed to color code the medicines of little importance in identifying medicinal products and maintaining generic medicinal products on different shelves.
The objective was that this system of color-coding would aid patients in distinguishing between generic and branded versions of the same medication. The government is working on further methods that go beyond the use of color labeling to make generic drugs more readily identified.
Separate shelves must now be provided for generic pharmaceuticals in all Indian pharmacies. The pharmaceutical watchdog has also requested that generic names appear on labels in a sizable typeface, preferably two times bigger than the brand name.
Identifying generic medicines
1. Check the Medicine’s Name
Generic medicines typically have a name that does not include a trademark or brand name. Instead, the name of a generic pharmaceutical tablet will usually include the active ingredient and its strength (e.g., acetaminophen 500 mg). The medicine’s label should also list the manufacturer or distributor of the medicine.
2. Compare Prices
Generic medicines are priced lower than their brand-name counterparts because manufacturers do not have to bear the costs of research and development associated with creating a new drug. By comparing prices, you can easily determine whether a medicine is a generic version.
3. Look for Different Packaging
Brand-name drugs often come in unique packaging (that is easy to identify) which helps recognize them easily on store shelves or online. In contrast, generic drugs are sold in plain packaging without special logos or design elements that make them stand out from other products.
4. Read Drug Information Leaflets
The drug information leaflets provided by pharmacies or manufacturers typically include information about whether a medicine is a generic or brand-name drug. This helps determine which type of drug you are buying before making your purchase decision.
5. Ask Your Pharmacist
Pharmacists are knowledgeable about drugs and can easily help you identify whether a medicine is generic or brand-name based on its name and packaging. If you ever have any questions about your prescription medications, it is always best to consult your pharmacist before taking action on your behalf.
In conclusion, identifying generic medicines is important to ensure patients receive the appropriate medication and save money. With the right information and resources, it is possible to find reliable and effective generic medicines that are safe for use.
Medkart operates 100+ stores offering a variety of generic medicines at discounted prices, allowing customers to save money on their medications. In addition, the stores provide personalized advice from qualified pharmacists, who help customers choose the right generic medication for their needs.
Besides physical stores, Medkart helps customers buy generic medicines online in India through its iOS and android apps and the website — medkart.in.
The mobile app provides customers an easy way to search for medications and order them directly from the store or website.
Overall, Medkart's commitment to providing access to quality generic medicines has been instrumental in improving the health outcomes of millions of people in India.