Generic medicines: Centre pushes for cheaper drugs


In a bid to form generic medicines more eye-catching, the Central government is getting to introduce an innovative marketing strategy to extend its brand awareness among consumers.

New Union Health Ministry plans would color-code generic medicines to differentiate them from their more costly brand-name counterparts. this is often during a bid to encourage consumers to form an informed decision on whether to travel on-brand or off-brand when buying drugs. Proposals have also been made to mark generic medicines with symbols.

The plans come on the tail end of a variety of measures advanced by the Union Health Ministry to promote sales of generic medicines in India. India has long been considered the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’, exporting large volumes of generic medicines to other markets. However, some analysts have suggested in recent years that holding onto this title could be a struggle, due to a mixture of increased competition from other drugmakers and more stringent regulations.

Nonetheless, generic medicines continue to frame the lion’s share of the pharmaceutical industry in India. Generics accounted for seventy percent of the pharma sector’s revenue in 2017. This manifests not only during a global effort to export generic medicines but it also seems to be a push to expand domestic use of generics.

Proposals made in recent years to upscale availability and use of generics have come thick and fast from the Centre. One proposal saw doctors being legally obliged to supply a generic medicine as an alternative to a branded one if one was available, by writing down the precise medication name instead of the brand. This provoked controversy and polarised reactions among drugmakers, chemists, and doctors alike.

The opening of state-run pharmacies to exclusively provide generic medicines has also been a fixture of health policies, both at the state and central levels. this is often particularly prominent amidst rollout of schemes to expand access to healthcare – most notably Ayushman Bharat and the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pari Yojana Kendra (PMBJPK).

PMBJK establishes special stores referred to as Jan Aushadi Kendras, which exclusively sell generic medicines. more than 3,000 such stores are open nationwide at the present. With Ayushman Bharat, commentators have identified a ‘pharma play’ to further strengthen the generics industry in India and supply a pathway for generic drugmakers to boost sales.

The bid to make generic medicines more accessible and appealing to consumers could bring down healthcare costs. this is often to not say that the manifold challenges facing India’s generic drugs industry will get away , especially not when it involves international sales. However, it can't be denied that – a minimum of for the instant – India’s generics industry remains a force that can't be ignored.