Doctors in India defy guidelines on generic drugs

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 01 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4244
  1. Ganapati Mudur
  1. 1New Delhi

Doctors across India seem unwilling to write prescriptions containing only the generic or unbranded chemical names of drugs, despite two recent advisories from the Medical Council of India urging them to do so.

The advisories, issued in November 2012 and January 2013 asking physicians to “as far as possible prescribe generic drugs,” are unlikely to change prescription practices in the country, private and government doctors have said.

Some doctors have described the advisories as a fresh reminder of a code of ethics that doctors are expected to follow. In 2002, the Medical Council of India told doctors to prescribe generically to protect patients from the effect of promotional campaigns by drug companies. But many doctors say that the suggestion to prescribe drugs without brand names is impractical given the diversity of chemical formulations and the stark differences in the prices of drugs from different manufacturers in India.

Generic drugs sold under different brand names dominate the Indian pharmaceuticals market. A McKinsey report had predicted three years ago …

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