An Alternative to High Value Branded Medicines
Do you buy expensive medicines every month for your family members? How would it be if you could cut heavily
on your monthly medical expenditure?
Have you ever gone from one medical shop to another in search of the prescribed medicine in spite of
repeated assurances by the pharmacist that he has exactly the same medicine with a different brand name?
Have you ever faced a situation when you go to a new doctor with old prescriptions given by other doctors and
the new doctor gives new medicines all together and the old medicines go into the drain?
Have you ever witnessed poor people wishing that they had never fallen sick because of the expensive
‘Health Is Wealth’. Now-a-days, the bare minimum need of medicines has become an expensive affair.
IS THERE A SOLUTION?
YES! GENERIC MEDICINES ARE THE SOLUTION!
Generic medicines are nothing but less promoted branded drugs that exist in the market with the only difference
in price, i.e., they are available at surprisingly lesser price compared to their counterparts.
The recent television show “Satyamev Jayate” telecasted an episode on “Generic Medicines”. Many reputed
doctors across the country have certified the usage of Generic Medicines.
Facts about Generic Medicines
A bird’s eye view on Generic medicines:
A generic name/ International Non-proprietary Name (INN) of a medicine is the name of the drug by which it is known worldwide. It is the name given by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is unique to each drug. It is the name by which
Doctors/Pharmacists/Healthcare Professionals identify a particular drug world-wide.
Drugs exist in the market either as patented drugs or unpatented drugs. Once a drug is discovered by a pharmaceutical
company, it obtains patent for that drug and hence, it has the sole authority to manufacture it. But once the patent expires after
a certain time, these drugs can be manufactured by any pharmaceutical company. These are known as unpatented drugs
NOTE: Every drug, whether patented or unpatented, has a Generic name/ International Non-proprietary Name (INN). Irrespective
of the generic name, the unpatented drugs are called Generic drugs/Generic medicines or simply Generics.
In India, most of the medicines are prescribed with proprietary names/trade names of pharmaceutical companies but not with
International Non-proprietary Names (INN)/generic names.
The prices of generic medicines are usually a fraction of the price of their branded counter-parts, which makes it possible to cut
down substantially on the expenditure and thereby, making them affordable to the common man. Generic medicines lead to
competition among pharmaceutical companies as a result of expiry of the patent. This leads to fall in their prices.
Generic drugs facilitate a variety of choice in the market and hence, the consumer need not go from one medical store to
another, in search of the exact brand prescribed by the physician.
Generic medicines bring about transparency in the treatment methodology since every medical practitioner can recognize
these names and analyze what treatment was given previously and what course of action is to be taken. This saves precious time
in case of emergencies.
Situation in Indian market
At present, most of the drugs that are present in the Indian market are Branded Generics.
That is, they are unpatented drugs promoted with the brand names (E.g. Crocin is a brand
name for Paracetemol and it is unpatented as there are different brands of
Among the branded generics, we have two different varieties.
Promoted branded generics.
Unpromoted branded generics.
Both these versions of branded generics are of the same composition, quality and they
are manufactured according to Indian Pharmacopeia guidelines by leading
The promoted branded generics are costlier than the unpromoted branded generics due
to the marketing and promotion costs involved. In the market, unpromoted branded
generics are available for 25% of promoted branded generics’ cost.
So, when the generic name/INN name of a prescribed medicine is known, the consumer
is free to choose from the wide variety of unpromoted branded generics that exist in the
How to check the price variations in the market
Do you want to know how much you can cut on your expenses? Please follow the below simple
steps and don’t be surprised to know that generic drugs by reputed manufacturers are available
in the market for a fraction of the prices of promoted drugs.
Visit the site www.medguideindia.com
Click on 'Drugs' that appears beside ‘Home’ at the top of the page
3. Now click on 'Brand' in the center of the page, in between ‘Manufacturer’ and ‘Generic’.
Type the brand name which you are using (e. g. Metocard XL (50 mg)). The site will also help
you with drop down menu. Click on 'Search'.
Now click on ‘Active Ingredients (Generics)'. It will display the ingredients of the medicine.
6. Click on 'matched brands with above constituents.
7. The same drug is available at very low cost also. And that too being manufactured by a
reputed pharmaceutical company. Metocard XL (50 mg) is for Rs. 62.00 & same drug by Cipla
(Mepol (50mg)) is available ONLY @ Rs. 7.00
Q. How to identify the generic name of a branded drug?
A. Anybody can identify the generic name of the drug by examining through the strip of the drug that is
prescribed. The generic name is printed above the trade name. According to norms, the generic name should be
in a bigger font than that of the trade name. Below is an illustration. “ATEN-50” is the brand name of generic
You can browse all the generic names with their
respective brand names in the below site:
Q. Is the quality of the generic medicines same as that of branded ones?
A. All drugs/medicines manufactured in India are manufactured as per a legal document called
Indian pharmacopeia .It is the pharmacopeia which ensures thepurity, quality & strength of the drug.
Drugs are manufactured in pharmaceutical units whose infrastructure is as per the specifications fixed
by WHO, called GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). The drugs are manufactured if and only if the
manufacturers hold authorized license. Hence, irrespective of the trade name & the manufacturer all
the medicines adhere to the pharmacopeia’s standards.
Q. If the quality of both these medicines is the same, then why is that the branded medicines are so
expensive compared to the generic ones?
A. When a pharmaceutical company discovers a medicine, it obtains a patent for that medicine due
to which it is allowed a competition-free period. When the patent expires, all the pharmaceutical
companies acquire the right to manufacture the drug and it becomes a generic drug. Since the
generics’ manufacturers don’t incur the costs of investment and R&D, the medicines manufactured by
them are quite cheaper than the branded ones.
Q. How can we ensure that the quality of generic medicine is the same as that of the branded ones?
A. The FDA or the Food and Drug Administration makes sure that the generic drug manufacturers conform to
a strict decorum while preparing these medications. The equipment as well as the medicine is first approved
by FDA before getting to the market. The medicine is approved only when the tests are carried out by FDA
to check its quality standard, the medicine also undergoes clinical trials to prove that it meets all the
requirements. The company that produces the generic drug also is checked for stringent good
manufacturing environment to ensure the generic medicine is hygienic. If any of the regulations is not
observed the company will no longer be allowed to exist. Hence, there is practically no difference between
the generic drugs and the branded ones. The only difference is the price.
Q. If generic medicines have so many advantages, then why is that doctors prescribe branded medicines?
A. An agreement between the pharmaceutical companies and the doctors is made such that doctors
prescribe only certain brands to their patients.
Data Source: http://itmd-india.org/ (Its Time to Make Difference)
Data Presentation : Sai Swaroop Thota