Hyderabad: The quality of generic drugs and its non-availability remains a challenge though the government has demanded that doctors prescribe generic drugs and chemists stock the medicine.
An advisory by the Drug Controller to pharmacies to have a separate section for generic drugs has been met with a stiff resistance from the chemists who state that it is not possible for them to comply. Only an estimated two per cent of doctors write brand names and generic names in the prescription. The rest do not, stating that the quality of generics is an issue.
Dr Usha Manjunath, an academic from the Insti-tute of Health Management and Research, expl-ained, “In the one year since the announcement of mandatory prescription of generic drugs, we have seen a challenges from the doctors and at the dispensing end. In our assessment, it is found that doctors are not prescribing generics stating that quality is a major issue.”
Dr Manjunath said the few doctors who prescribe generics state that they do not find the quality up to the mark. “Hence it is a tough call for medical practitioners and dispensers,” she said.
Many doctors, if they are pressed to do so or are asked for cheaper medicines, prescribe generic drugs. A senior pulmonologist on condition of anonymity said, “In the case of life-threatening conditions like pneumonia, worsening asthma and sepsis, it is not possible to prescribe generic drugs. The efficacy of drugs is a challenge. If anything goes wrong with the patient, the hospital is blamed.”
In a bid to control the cost of healthcare and curtail the out-of-pocket medical expenses, generic drugs are being prescribed but it is also important to check their efficacy. There is no proper regulation for monitoring the quality of drugs.
A peculiar condition is seen in the case of combination drugs where writing names of molecules and their availability have become an issue.
Dr Raj Kumar, a pharmacist, said, “The combination drugs are in one brand name with the required medicines. When there are separate molecules prescribed, keeping them in stock becomes a challenge. The supply of medicines has also been a challenge.”
At the ground level, chemists state they stock drugs in shelves according to the utility. If the medicines are not supplied in time, the shelves are empty. Many customers notice this and question the staff, chemists said. Thereore, they said, at the ground level implementing these orders was not possible.