Doctors in Jammu and Kashmir prescribe brand- name drugs in violation to the recommendations of the Medical Council of India (MCI) which mandates prescribing of generic drugs, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) said in a press communiqué on Friday.
President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan said while the MCI has made prescription of generic drugs compulsory, doctors continue to write expensive branded drugs preventing access to cheaper medicines for the poor.
“MCI, the statutory body that registers doctors to ensure proper standards of medical practice, on September 2016 amended Clause 1.5 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional conduct, etiquette and ethics), Regulations 2002 mandating doctors to prescribe generic medicines,” the DAK President said.
Earlier this year, the MCI reiterated its directive asking doctors to prescribe generic drugs failing which strict disciplinary action will be taken against those violating the code.
The move was taken with a view to make medicines accessible to the poor as they are not able to buy the branded medicines.
“Clinician are fed and bred by Pharma companies for pushing patients to purchase branded medicines,” Dr Nisar said. “From luxury cars, family trips to household items, Pharma companies provide doctors everything to prescribe these costly drugs,” the medico body President said.
This unholy nexus, he said, is misleading public and has generated a false perception regarding generics that prevents these drugs from getting popular. Even the chemists get huge margins for selling branded drugs.
“Generic drugs are copycat versions of branded drugs and cost 80 to 90% less than branded medicines as manufacturers do not have to spend on development and promotion of the drug,” the statement said.
Lyrica, the drug used for nerve problems, costs Rs 842 for a strip of 14 tablets whereas its generic version costs a meager Rs 70. Similarly Glivec, the branded drug, used for treating blood cancer is sold at a monthly cost of Rs 1.2 lakh while its generic version is sold at Rs 8000 only, the DAK statement added.
Unless a legal framework is put in place, the push for generic medicines will remain only an idea without implementation, DAK said.