SRINAGAR: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday sought a state legislation to ensure doctors prescribe cheaper generic drugs instead of costly branded medicines. “That would make generic drug prescribing mandatory,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a communique to KNB.
“Jammu and Kashmir is fully competent to bring its own legislation due to constitutional position of the state,” he said.
DAK President said the law would make drugs affordable and accessible to poor patients who are not able to buy expensive brand-name drugs.
“In JK 21.63% population, comprising of 24.21 lakh people do not have access to medicines due to lack of purchasing power,” he informed.
Dr Nisar said 90.39 percent population in our state purchase drugs through out-of-pocket payments.
“Research has shown that out-of-pocket costs were lowered significantly among patients who were prescribed generic medicines compared to patients who were given branded drugs,” he said.
Dr Nisar said while generic drugs account for 88% of prescriptions in United States, in JK doctors continue to dole out unnecessary expensive therapies when equally effective cheaper generic versions are available.
He said there is a deep-rooted nexus between doctors and pharma companies that is keeping generic drugs away from patients.
“For writing costly branded drugs to gullible patients, pharma companies provide these doctors everything from luxury cars, family trips to household items,” Dr Nisar said
He added that even the chemist shops get huge margins for selling branded medicines. He further said the nexus is misleading people about generic drugs that is preventing these drugs from getting popular.
Dr Nisar said 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.
“Unless a legal framework is put in place, the push for generic medicines will remain an idea without implementation,” he said.