Increase generic drugs at store: AIIMS RDA

The Resident Doctors’ Association of AIIMS has written to the institute’s administration, highlighting a dire need to increase the number of generic medicines available at its store.In the letter, the association wrote: “Only 230 medicines are available in the store, so we request to increase the numbers of drugs… The agency has written to the AIIMS administration to include 53 most prescribed drugs by AIIMS doctors, but no action has been taken from your side…”

The development comes just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he will bring in a legal framework under which doctors have to prescribe generic medicines.

In their letter, the doctors’ association has written that while they “support” the PM’s decision to prescribe generic medicines, the institute should increase the number of drugs under this category. The letter comes after resident doctors held a meeting with the in-charge of the free generic medicine store at AIIMS.

A generic drug is equivalent to the brand-name product in dosage, strength and the intended use. Manufacture of these generic drugs does not involve a repeat of the extensive clinical trials involved in developing brand-name drugs — hence it costs less to develop them.

Doctors have raised concerns that “only one-sixth of patients at AIIMS are prescribed generic drugs” due to an insufficient number of drugs being included in the generic medicine list.

“Despite being the country’s premier institute, AIIMS still has just 230 medicines under the generic medicine list. The list should include as many as 1,000 medicines. We completely support the PM’s initiative. However, there has to be a system in place, so that doctors start prescribing only generic medicines,” said Dr Vijay Gurjar, president of the association.

“Most importantly, we express concerns regarding the quality of these medicines… If you can ensure it, then doctors at AIIMS can use them without fear,” the letter added.

Doctors also highlighted the need to have more combination medicines for patients who suffer multiple ailments. “Most medicines available are not in combination, which is the need of the hour to decrease the number of pills… Please look into this matter urgently so that we can deliver the benefit of government schemes to the last patient in the row,” the letter stated.

The association informed the administration that they have “prepared the list of available medicines” that should be circulated to each department for “updation”.

Speaking in Surat on April 17, the PM had referred to the Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana, which aims to provide cheaper medicines to people.

“In the coming days, the government will bring a legal framework under which doctors will have to prescribe generic medicines which are cheaper than equivalent branded drugs, to patients,” he had said.