The Central Government is considering amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945 to ensure that registered medical practitioners dispense only generic medicines.
The matter was recently brought before the Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
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“A proposal was received by the CDSCO committee wherein the DCC was apprised that registered medical practitioners can supply different categories of medicines including vaccines to their patients under the exemption provided, with certain conditions, under Schedule K of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
As of now there are no specified types of medicines which can be supplied by doctors to their patients,” a senior health official said.
It is now proposed that registered medical practitioners shall supply generic medicines only and physician’s samples shall be supplied free of cost.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) said that it is planning to meet the drug control authorities about the issue later this month.
They said that “While we welcome the move by the government to ensure that generic medicines are supplied, the government also has to ensure easy availability, unclogged supply chain, and strict quality control of generic medicines. We welcome the move to keep drugs affordable but we have to ensure availability and effectiveness also of generic medicines.”
“If this amendment goes through, doctors would be violating the law by dispensing branded drugs. While I am not compelling my patients to get the drugs prescribed by me from my clinic they can avail the brands/generics of their choice from anywhere. The main concern is to offer the best medicines which are most effective so we should not be forced to prescribe in a particular manner,’’ said ophthalmologist Dr. Babu K.V. from Kerala who has also written to the drug controller to reconsider the matter.
“In my clinical practice, many eye drops available at very low cost [generics], cause too much irritation to the eye compared to products that are a little costlier (branded). This is the feedback from my patients. The well-being and comfort of my patient is my priority. I am dispensing drugs mainly for this purpose,” he added.
Echoing similar sentiments Delhi Medical Association Member Dr. Anil Bansal said:
“The government should keep strict price control on medicines and ensure that the highest quality medicines are given to the patients. All laws, checks and balances should be directed at giving the best possible treatment at the best cost. This differential treatment (in terms of medicines) does not work in the long run.”
Source: The Hindu