Doctors slam Medical Council of India advice on generic drugs

The recent Medical Council of India circular urging doctors to prescribe generic drugs has been slammed by the medical practitioners. Generic drugs are any drug marketed under its chemical name without advertising.

Doctors argue that the drug regulatory mechanism in the country is opaque and cannot be trusted to ensure quality of non-branded medicines. They said that such a move would only further the interests of chemists. Doctors said there is more to branded drugs than their differential pricing and that brands are in a way an assurance of quality.

Dr Anoop Misra, chairman of Fortis Centre for Excellence for Diabetes, said, "Two factors are involved in prescribing drugs: quality and cost. Pharmacology says generic drugs are of the same quality as the branded ones. I would have no problem in prescribing them as I want the best for my patients. But it is not possible for the national drug regulator, Drug Controller General of India, with its present infrastructure to ensure 100 per cent quality." He argued that the problem of drug resistance in TB patients could be as much an issue of quality of anti-TB drugs as poor patient compliance.

Doctors also question the open-ended tone of the MCI circular with no effort to regulate the manufacturing end of the supply chain.

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