Modi ji and cheaper medicines

Press Note 18.4.17Dr. Vitull K. Gupta, Chairman, Association of Physicians of India (Malwa Branch) has criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion of a legal framework under which doctors will have to prescribe generic medicines stating that generic medicines are cheaper than equivalent branded drugs projecting doctors as demons putting the entire blame on doctors. Dr. Vitull said that doctors are prescribing the medicines available in the market at a price as permitted by the Pharmaceutical Policy of India, so if there are expansive as well as cheap medicines or generic drugs available simultaneously the Pharmaceutical policy is to be blamed and not the doctors. Dr. Vitull said that Prime Minister should understand the regulatory scenario in pharmaceutical industry and then comment and blame doctors. He said that the principal regulatory bodies entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the approval, production and marketing of quality drugs in India at reasonable prices are: The Central Drug Standards and Control Organization and The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, which fixes or revises the prices of decontrolled bulk drugs and formulations. So why this hue and cry of malpractice by doctors in prescribing the expansive medicines? Why not blame the faulty pharmaceutical policy which favors strong pharma lobby, breeds corruption and a scope for nexuses between unscrupulous doctors and pharma companies? If the pharmaceutical policy is such that regulates and fixes the profit margins so that the drug company can’t inflate the price, and the generic medicines are available at the actual cost and not at inflated MRP, the problem will be solved by it self. Dr. Vitull said that despite a direction from the Supreme Court to follow the older cost-based methodology which accounted cost of raw materials plus costs of conversion, plus the maximum allowable post manufacturing expenses of 100%, which includes the profit of the manufacturer and various distribution costs, government is following Market-Based Pricing Policy, which accounts the ceiling price of a medicine in National List of Essential Medicines ( 2011) would be the simple average price of all its brands that have more than 1% market share, which favors pharma lobby. Dr Vitull feel that the solution to this is not opening the generic drug stores or sensitizing the doctors to write generic medicines, but to initiate radical changes in drug policy itself including more and more medicines under price control calculated by older cost-based methodology and not new Market-Based Pricing Policy. Dr Vitull strongly said that if the pharmaceutical policy is strong and patient friendly, how on earth the doctor can exploit the patient. Exploitation goes on and will go on if the pharmaceutical policy is not changed.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Vitull K. Gupta, Chairman API (Malwa Branch)

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