Indian Pharmaceutical Industry

Doctors Are Bribed To Prescribe Specified Drugs

Doctors Are Bribed To Prescribe Specified Drugs
Doctors Are Bribed To Prescribe Specified Drugs | Source

Indian Pharma Companies Are Growing

Patent Revoked For Good Reason

Government of India has scrapped patent for a diabetes drug. Earlier the Indian government had granted patent to a diabetes drug made from extract of cinnamon, jamun and sandalwood. Now the government has attributed the reason that it was an integral part of traditional Indian medicine to revoke the patent rights. This is good news for Indian pharmaceutical industry. Earlier India followed the process patent system instead of product patent to ensure that important medicines were made available to poor people at reasonable prices. But with the signing of GATT, process patent was revoked and product patent introduced. Multinational drug companies made a killing by inflating the price of all drugs to cheat the Indian public. Politicians received their share of the loot. Even traditional items like turmeric and neem were patented by US companies.

Major Changes in Rules for Conducting Clinical Trials in the Offing

Central government is formulating major changes in the rules framed for conducting clinical trials. Any adverse event will have to be reported to the drug controller within 24 hours. Quantum of compensation is being worked out. Informed consent form is also to be modified. The government is under criticism for its inadequate monitoring of clinical trials in India. Drugs and Cosmetics Act was framed in 1940 in British India and is quite old. It needs to be overhauled keeping in tune with the modern times. Sponsors of the trial should be made to look after the medical treatment of the person undergoing the trial for as long as is required. There is also a proposal to video record the clinical trial in order to prevent people from becoming guinea pigs.

Generic Drugs Preferred Over Branded Drugs

Health Ministry of government of India wants to end the sale of branded drugs. It wants the companies applying for licences to opt for generic names instead of branded names for manufacture and sale of drugs. Through this way, the cost of the medicines will be pruned down drastically which is good for the poor people. The government of India has already informed the Supreme Court that a new drug policy will be announced by the middle of the current month. The Supreme Court judge has pointed out the anomaly that poor people have to forego their food for meeting the medicine expenses. The government is also examining how to make vital drugs reach the needy.

The Remedy Should Not Prove Worse Than Disease

But experts are pointing out that any move by the government to fix the drug prices will only push up the prices further. How? Amlodipine, the hyper tension drug has more than sixty brands selling between 15 paise to 640 paise per tablet. If the government fixes the WAP at say 200 paise per tablet, then the cheapest price of 15 paise will go up by nearly fifteen times, affecting the poor people further. At present, the government is planning to reduce 60% of the essential drugs by 20%. The government has already capped the prices of around 350 essential drugs. The list of drugs include pain-killers, anti-diabetic and anti-cancer medicines. If you want to see the full list of medicines, go to the Internet and use the search engine.

Prices Set To Decline Drastically

The price of some drugs will decline drastically. For example, the price of Diclofenac will come down by nearly 75%. 15 leading pharma firms produce the drug. The price of Metoprolol 25 mg tablet will come down by around 60%. 25 leading pharma firms produce the drug. The price Atenolol 50 mg tablet will decline by around 90%. Ten major firms will be affected by this decision. The government wants FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in pharma industry but at the same time does not want the drug prices to shoot up. But the Commerce Ministry is opposing FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in pharma beyond 49%. There is a fear that FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) may affect generic medicines.

Doctors Are Bribed To Prescribe Specified Drugs

Shortage of drugs and spurious drugs are the twin problems affecting many government hospitals. Bandages and anti-septic applications in most of the government hospitals are spurious except in Gujarat. Since 2009, Tamil Nadu State Medical Service Corporation has banned 38 drugs from 5 companies. Shortage of staff is cited as the major reason in the fight against the fake drugs. But the real reason is the bribery to the politicians from the fake drug manufacturers. Police are also bribed. Medical sales representatives bribe the doctor by gifting a coffee making machine or a vacuum cleaner or a cookware to make the doctor prescribe the medicine they want to sell. Thus patients do not get the best medicines from the doctor. It is a system-driven problem. The most shocking news is that medicines are being approved by authorities without conducting clinical trials on local population. Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have most sub-standard drugs in India.

Indian Pharma Companies Are Growing

But inspite of the many negatives afflicting the Indian pharmaceutical industry, the most satisfying news is that Indian drug firms are among the fastest growing firms in the world. Top ten fastest growing drug firms in the world are Sagent, Perrigo, Nichi-Iko, Watson, Glenmark, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Taro, Sun Pharma, Veropharm and Bluefish

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