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Generic, generic, generic

Health Issues India has written about the issue of access to medication before and just last week wrote about the Supreme Court giving the government a two week deadline to finalise policy to bring 348 “essential” drugs under the government’s price control.

Another issue that has been in the news recently is generic medicine and its role in addressing the healthcare needs of India, especially the India that does not have great access to healthcare facilities and specialists. Film actor Aamir Khan has publicly spoken about the need to use generic medicines as a policy tool in his show, Satyamev Jayate, as well as written to Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, to work toward making generics more easily available in Bihar.

Now, it looks like the health ministry is planning to bring in a legislation that makes it mandatory for doctors to prescribe generic medicines. The anonymous government official quoted claims that the government does not aim to “bring an end to branded medicine,” and that the bill would ensure that both generic and branded medication would be available side-by-side.

Big things seem to be afoot and the policy landscape could shift considerably. What about intellectual property rights for Pharma companies? Is the new legislation going to take care of that? Or do we have more Nexavar-type lawsuits in the offing?




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