Pharmacists encourage customers to buy generic drugs

In a changing trend, some pharmacists are encouraging customers to buy generic medicines to reduce medical expenses.
A generic drug is comparable to a branded product in dosage, strength and intended use.Interestingly, this trend coincides with the increasing focus on public health at affordable cost even as multinational pharma companies are losing patent battles to prevent generics in India.“As a pharmacist, it is my duty to tell customers that they can save money with generics,’’ Akunuri Rambabu, who runs a medical shop here told. He has displayed banners at his shop highlighting the gains. Rambabu has over 2,000 customers who regularly buy generic drugs for treating chronic ailments.
“They are saving 60 to 80 per cent of money they spend on branded drugs,’’ he said.
Enquiries reveal that some other pharmacists are also taking a similar path in educating customers.
P. Bhaskara Narayana, Chief Financial Officer, Natco Pharma Ltd, said it is mandatory for pharmacists in the US to brief a customer on the availability of generic alternatives to any drug prescribed.
“Though there is no such norm here, it is heartening to see that some pharmacists have started educating the customers in this regard,’’ he said.Especially, use of generics will help patients save on costs, said Vijay Anand Reddy, Director Apollo Cancer Hospitals, Hyderabad.
“Those patients who could afford specially ask us for branded drugs.
“In all other cases, promotion of generic medicines is welcome as long as quality is not compromised,’’ he said.The real winner, however, is the patient.
“I had great difficulty in providing treatment to my wife suffering from breast cancer as I had to spend Rs 30,000 a month,’’ said M. Rama Subba Rao, a Government school teacher. After shifting to the use of generics, he is spending only a little over Rs 2,000 now!

Source : The HINDU