Home World Editorial Nothing can defend the Indefensible: the Exorbitant Prices of the Drugs in India!

Nothing can defend the Indefensible: the Exorbitant Prices of the Drugs in India!

And technically speaking most branded drugs in India are generic anyway. In International parlance, a branded drug is a drug produced by its inventor or patent holder. Worldwide, the patent protection gets waived after 20 years, which is when other companies can make what are be called generic meds or alternate brands. India has process patents due to which Indian manufacturers can produce the same drug by a different method.

So, while internationally they would be labelled as generic, in India they are dubbed as branded drugs and sold for exorbitant prices citing high marketing costs as a reason. When common drugs that are overpriced are brought under price control by government, reputed manufacturers usually shy away. In India, generics are sold by salt name and not brand names.

Now, here is the catch. In India branded and generic drugs may use different bulk salts and additives called excipients. The quality control procedures can vary somewhat. Generic drugs are manufactured in India making full use of the leeway afforded by the laws to create a shade inferior product. Its bio availability or penetration into the target tissue, for instance may be reduced compared to original patent brands.

Although this is not always true. A lot of people may disagree. But from my experience as a doctor for 20 years, I can tell you that even in the early 2000’s, no Indian product of the same formula as Digene gel, had an equivalent effect, when used by doctor’s themselves.

As a clinician, one often sees the difference between high quality products and low quality ones. So if generics have to be made compulsory, the government must ensure an oversight of the raw material, the process of manufacture and final quality, and ensure its efficacy is equal to so called branded.

Or else, in a country plagued by corruption, we may see and epidemic of ineffective drugs resistant bugs, and side effects.

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