Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What must be done to make FREE Generic Medicines Scheme a success?

You might have heard about Government of India coming up with a scheme to distribute generic medicines free of cost to all.
Several thousand Crores are being ear marked for this project during next few years.Patients visiting Government hospitals will get medicines (generic) free of charge. Quality drugs from leading manufacturers will be distributed. Corporate hospitals will be allowed to loot as usual. Doctors will be forced to prescribe only generic medicines. Adequate Availability will be ensured. Starting from August an SMS query facility will be started by Government for knowing generic brand names for regular branded drugs.

If the scheme should succeed few basic things are important. There are listed below:

  1. Patients must be encouraged to ask the doctor to prescribe by generic name only. Govt must insist on prescriptions on generic only wherever available and feasible 
  2. Generic drugs must be stocked in all medical shops not just in a few shops as of now. 
  3. The price mentioned on the strip / packet must be decided by the pricing authority and approved.  As of now even branded generics are marked with prices much closer to regular branded varieties though the retail chemist buys them at very low rates with huge margins. This bottleneck must be removed.
  4. Brand name to generic translation must be easily available in medical shops and buyers must have access to it. 
  5. Doctors must be educated on all aspects of generic drugs prescription, usage, availability etc
  6. Efforts to weed out spurious and sub standard drugs must be carried out on war footing with severest of punishments for such offences



  1. And also, some body must be accountable to ensure that the generic medicines are genuine.