Unhealthy prescription – On National Medical Commission’s regulations

Source– The post is based on the article “Unhealthy prescription” published in “The Business Standard” on 17th August 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Issues related to development and management of health

Relevance: Regulatory issues in healthcare sector

News– The National Medical Commission’s regulation has stipulated that doctors can prescribe only generic drugs, failing which they would be liable to be penalised.

What are the issues related to the National Medical Commission’s regulation on generic drugs?

The exclusive reliance on generic drugs will contribute to weakening the nexus between doctors and pharmaceutical companies. But, the new policy alters the dynamics by shifting power to chemists and pharmacies

Even with the new regulations in place, pharmacists could easily offer pricier branded versions of prescribed drugs. It can undermine the intended goal of the policy. This situation might strengthen the existing ties between pharmaceutical firms and pharmacy networks.

The subpar monitoring standards in the pharma sector have contributed to the proliferation of sub-standard or counterfeit medicines.

The Indian Medical Association asserts that only 0.1 percent of medicines undergo quality checks. The recent scandal involving contaminated children’s cough syrups supplied to Africa exemplifies the lax enforcement of good manufacturing practices.

Experts within the pharmaceutical sector acknowledge that there are generic drugs available on the market that have not undergone proper bioequivalence studies to assess their effectiveness.

Physicians are apprehensive that the variable quality of generic medications might compromise the effectiveness of their treatments. It could lead to reputational damage.

In medical institutions like hospitals and clinics, the risks could multiply if subpar generic drugs lead to suboptimal outcomes. In such situations, doctors may face physical assault from relatives of patients.

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