ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Generic Manoeuvre

The unsound argument in favour of prescription of medicines in their so-called generic version as a panacea for drug price reduction is discursive in nature and, hence, untenable. Such a recommendation by the Prime Minister of India may discount the drug cartel on account of their unethical trade practices, while disowning the government’s responsibility towards effective drug price control.

This article was developed from the author’s blog post “Monsieur Modi’s Generic Prescription Detriments Public Interest,” dated 24 April 2017.

As soon as Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated in his speech on 17 April 2017 at Surat that prescribing medicines by their generic names would be made mandatory for doctors to help achieve reduction in drug prices, people’s expectations soared again. In India, the cost of medicine constitutes the largest share of all out-of-pocket health expenditure—around 72% in rural and 68% in urban areas—for non-hospitalised patients, according to the 71st round of the National Sample Survey conducted from January to June 2014 (Singh 2016).

However, the Prime Minister’s deliberation also incited once more the debate as to whether prescribing medicines by generic names alone would be sufficient to reduce their cost, without addressing many other complex, yet inescapable, issues involved. While the price of medicine is a common concern for everyone, the buoyant pharmaceutical market of the country is no less important to think about, especially when the question arises about its future possession.

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Updated On : 5th Sep, 2017
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