Generic Medicines

Generic Medicines

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Have you ever noticed that our forefathers were living more healthy than us, the average age was also higher than today and the body stamina; it was far better than us. They lived so long without any disease because their body resistance power was also very high. But nowadays, every disease has its own home in every human’s home. One more thing I noticed that now and then we are hearing a new name; a new name of a disease, a new name of bacteria, a new name of infection, etc. We should thank the medical science who takes care of ourselves otherwise the condition would be so worst.

Definition of Medical Science:

Medical Science is a science of dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention and treatment of disease. Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. Medical scientists work in offices and laboratories. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings.

Medical scientists typically do the following:

  • Investigation of human diseases and methods to prevent and treat them
  • Prepare medical samples and data to investigate the causes of diseases
  • Standardize drug potency, doses, and methods to allow for the mass manufacturing
  • Create and test medical devices

What are the generic drugs/medicines?

Generic is a characteristic of or relating to a class or group of things which do not have a brand name. Similar to this, generic drug is a medication created to be the same as an existing approved brand name drug in a dosage form. Basically these are copies of originally researched drugs but at much lower prices. For example, Aspirin and Paracetamol are generic medicines that are often sold under brand names like Disprin and Crocin in India.

As it’s already mentioned that generic medicines have much lower prices but it doesn’t mean that the dosage, composition, method of intake, benefits, quality, and even side effects of generic medicines are different from branded medicines. Generic medicines also, have the same impact as branded medicines.

Are generic medicines are legal in India?

Generic medicines are not duplicate medicines and even the effect and impact are also same as branded medicines so, yes, generic medicines are legal in India. As generic medicines are cheaper than branded medicines, such generic medicines will save a lot of money which can be used for other health issues. In all countries, the use of generic medicines has increased significantly in recent years.

In India, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has been pushing to the doctors for the extensive use of generic medications as India is one of the highest per capita out-of-pocket expenditures’ country. A 2002 regulation stated that physicians should prescribe generic medicines as far as possible. A notification followed in 2016, where it was mandated for doctors to prescribe low-cost generics in place of branded medicines. This directive was again reiterated the following year after the Indian Prime Minister emphasized on a legal framework for prescribing generic medications to patients.

Why generic medicines are cheaper than branded medicines?

Every company does its researches and analysis which tend to be expensive and all these expenses are imposed on the consumers. The new medicines are usually protected by patents that prohibit others from making and selling copies of the same drug. The patent protects the company’s investment in the drug’s development by giving the company the sole right to sell the drug while the patent is in effect. Because it takes such a long time to bring a new drug to market, this period of exclusivity allows drug companies to recoup the costs associated with bringing a new drug to market.

Generic medicines tend to cost less because the generic drug does not have to repeat research and analysis on animal and human studies that were required of the branded medicines to demonstrate safety and effectiveness. In fact, multiple generic companies are often approved to market a single product; this creates competition in the marketplace, typically resulting in lower prices. Estimated, generic medicines are available 30% to 85% less compared with the branded medicines.

Whether the quality of medicines is same?

This point is very important point because when we came to know that the generic medicines are available 30% to 80% cheaper than this question raised quite often in our mind about the quality issue. Whether the quality of generic medicines and branded medicines are same?

The Drugs Technical Advisory Board of India in May 2016 considered amending Rule 65 (11A) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, so that pharmacists can dispense generic name medicines and/or equivalent brands against prescriptions in brand names. However, skeptics have stated that the use of generic drugs may lead to prolongation of illness or even therapeutic failure as the bioavailability (BA) of a generic drug may not be as good as that of the prescribed brand.

Hence, the critical issues that affect the quality of generic medicines are purity, potency, stability, and drug release and these should be controlled within an appropriate limit, range, or distribution to ensure the desired drug quality.

Role of India in generic medicines

India is counted amongst the largest supplier of generic medicines across the world and it accounts for 20% of the volume of global generic medicines exports. In the low-cost vaccine space too, India stands among the biggest suppliers in the world. Hepatitis B injection prices dropped to less than US$ 1 from US$ 23 per dose when an Indian manufacturer developed the vaccination. Today, India is a primary supplier of the vaccination to numerous countries as well as to UNICEF. Today, many global healthcare programs such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as UNICEF, regularly use generic medications developed in India to treat a number of infectious diseases. Médecins sans Frontières, a global medical charity also known as Doctors without Borders, has even termed India as the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’.

In 2017-18, pharma products amounting to US$ 17.30 billion were exported from India. This number is expected to rise to US$ 56 billion by 2020, making the country the sixth largest pharma market in the world in terms of size.

Indian talents were the first to manufacture life-saving medicines like Imatinib for cancer and Zidovudine for HIV treatment.


The conclusion of the above study shows that due to the lack of information and the ignorance of the public about generic medicines, healthcare expenditure continues to rise. Generic medicines offer an important tool for reducing the overall healthcare expenditure. This can be rectified through Government campaigns, physicians and pharmacists because the public perceives them as an authentic source of information. In addition to this, healthcare providers and policymakers need to keep drug prices affordable.

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