Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to ensure that doctors prescribe only generic medicines is being undone by some creative interpretation of the Medical Council of India’s (MCI’s) “code” for doctors, which ostensibly makes it mandatory to prescribe using generic names. Reacting to the MCI injunction that doctors should prescribe generic drugs, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said “should means may and may means optional or preferable”.
Meanwhile, doctors demanded that the PM ban companies from manufacturing any generic medicine with a trade name and ensure they produced only high-quality generics. Though the PM said he would bring a legal framework to prescribe generics, there is as yet no new law, either for the pharma industry or for doctors and chemists.
“Nobody can stop you choosing the company for quality assurance,” said the IMA statement. IMA advised doctors to choose drugs from the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) as they are cheaper and of assured quality. “When writing non-NLEM, take consent. When prescribing, write the cheapest available medicine and that will always be the generic version of that company,” advised IMA.
AIDAN said that unless manufacturers (except those who are marketing medicines still under patent protection) are made to market medicines under generic names for the retail market, consumers would not get the benefit of “generic medicines”.