Cost has always been a driving force in Governments turning to cheaper alternative generic medications. They pay a fraction of the costs of the original drugs. Generic pharmaceutical companies claim that their drugs are similar to the original version. But are they?
Not until recently, the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau now requires bioequivalence studies for generic drugs before registration is permitted. Unfortunately, this measure does not guarantee similar efficacy and side effect profile.
Doctors have always lamented on a lack of efficacy of some generic medications. This is often ignored as the cost saved is tremendous. Running a proper clinical trial involving these generics would certainly be too expensive.
Are we then putting a price tag on the lives of those taking generic medications?
Pharmaceutical companies are raking in millions to billions of dollars. Many generic companies live off the success of their branded counterparts. They can offer a price unrivaled by those branded stuff.
For many medications, the active ingredient is only part of the story. The incipient products may be important to maintain a certain level of efficacy. Trade secrets have certainly not allowed some of this information to be disseminated. Therefore, knowing just the active ingredient may not be sufficient to mimic the original drug’s performance.
It is time the Government looks seriously into this issue of generic drugs. As much as saving cost is important, we cannot ignore the peril that some of these drugs may bring. Perhaps it is much better to be prudent in spending rather than making cuts in the wrong areas.