Campaign to popularise generic medicines

Campaign to popularise generic medicines
Highlights

Call to go generic, save health & money Jeevandhara aims to replace patented drugs Adapa Appa Rao ...

  • Call to go generic, save health & money
  • Jeevandhara aims to replace patented drugs

Adapa Appa Rao

Kakinada: Thanks to the genius of Ravi Uday Bhasker, general manager of Jeevandhara, generic medicines are gradually flowing into the market. Though generic medicines may take a long time to become popular, they would definitely attract the poorer sections as they are cheap. How fast they will flood the market replacing the commanding position of patented drugs depends on campaign to create awareness among the masses.

Mr Uday Bhasker, who has decided to shoulder this responsibility, is currently touring the State to espouse the cause of generic drugs. His aim is to establish at least one medical shop of generic medicines in each mandal. By way of potency and functioning, both generic as well as patented drugs are exactly the same. The only difference is that the patented or branded ones cost at least three times more than their generic counterparts.

As secretary-general of All India Drug Control Officers' Federation, Mr Bhasker is concerned about the expenditure of an average man on health and medicines. Going by a World Health Organisation (WHO) survey, he realised that a shocking 65 per cent of the population is below poverty line in India and it spends half its earnings on medicines. Food and other basic needs took a backseat. Then, he came up with the solution of replacing patented drugs with generic replicas.

Thus Jeevandhara came into being. It is a government undertaking propagating generic medicines. It functions under the Andhra Pradesh Medical Services Infrastructure Development Corporation. If one strip of patented medicine introduced into the market with all the taxes costs around Rs 140, a strip of generic medicine costs only Rs 40 or Rs 20. There are nearly 348 kinds of medicines in the State. With these, 75 per cent of the diseases are cured. Generic medicines are available in all these kinds. If awareness grows, money could be saved along with gaining better health.

To stop the general public from being fleeced, top branded pharmaceuticals were consulted and requested to release non-patented medicines along with patented ones into the market. If the use of generic medicines increases, medicines bought outside for Rs 100 could cost just Rs 20 in generic medical shops.

Laughing off the idea of bandh by medical shops being successful, Mr Bhasker said generic medicines can be made popular only through awareness. Condemning some self-centred elements, who were indifferent to the popularising of generic medicines, he pointed out that it is 'social injustice'. While 90 per cent of the population uses medicines, 80 per cent of this was spending its hard earned income on drugs that could be bought at cheaper rates.

These medicines would be useful to the poor, especially chronic patients like diabetics and hypertensive. Generic medical shops are springing up with the slogan Arogyam Kakudadhu Bhaaram (Health should not be a burden). "If people become aware of generic medicines, health will never be a burden. They should realise that whether branded or generic, both are the same medicine," he said.

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