Indian Generic Drug industry once again came to limelight when an Australian author and historian Greg Jeffrey came to India for the treatment of Hepatitis C. He may have undergone treatment there itself but the problem was, the Cost. The total treatment requires 84 tablets which would have cost him around $100,000 that he can’t afford, so he came to Chennai India three months ago for treatment with Indian made Generic medicines.
Jeffrey told Australian news channel ABC, ” The same treatment with same drug in India is $900. Within 11 days my liver functions had returned to normal and within 4 weeks there was no virus detectable in my blood“. He was on the verge of getting liver Cirrhosis, once he gets cirrhosis he would have open up to tumor and cancer. Hepatitis C is cured by drug called sovaldi, manufactured by US pharmaceutical giant Gilead but it is very costly. Its generic version is called sofosbuvir and is sold in India by many leading pharmaceutical companies at 1/1ooth of the original price of sovaldi.
What are Generic Medicines?
As per WHO ” A generic medicine is a pharmaceutical product, usually intended to be interchangeable with an innovator product, that is manufactured without a license from the innovator company“. In simple words local companies do reverse engineering to find out ingredients of that medicine and then with minor changes they launch that medicines without affecting the original properties of the medicine.
Are Generic Drugs as Effective as the original ones??
Yes, they are surely as effective as the original branded ones and sometimes even better, because the ingredients remain mostly the same with minor changes. They are properly tested by reputed testing labs before launch in the market. Also Generic Drugs are approved by US FDA(Food and Drug Administration)
Then why are they cheap??
Generic drugs are cheap because the selling companies have not done a lot of research work on the drug creation, so they don’t mix up R&D prices in the medicine. What they do is just reverse engineering of the already present drug and then they sell it in markets at cheap rates.
Government of India has started an initiative called “Jan Aushadhi” for generic medicines more accessible and available in Indian markets. The government will procure medicines in bulk from private as well as public firms and re-brand them under Jan Aushadhi. They will be sold in retail market at a competitive price allowing consumers to buy a cheaper yet a quality product.
For more on this initiative by Indian Government visit www.janaushadhi.gov.in