The government recently floated a change in the drugs and cosmetic rules asking pharmaceutical companies to write the generic names of drugs in bold letters. It proposes to make it mandatory for pharma companies to carry generic names of a medicine in a font at least two sizes larger than the brand name.
The legal head of an Indian multinational pharma company is of the view that the government will have to bring about changes in licensing norms for chemists in the country to make the move for prescription of generics effective.
“India will have to introduce a norm that requires all chemists to offer the consumer all possible choices with each generic name,” he said. This amendment would be necessary to protect the consumer from being influenced by chemists while purchasing medicine, he added.
Legal experts fear the practice of prescribing generics could also lead to development of a cartel-like situation between chemists and drug distributors. Many are in favour of bringing in rules under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to regulate chemists and drug distributors. There are around 800,000 chemists in the country. Currently, chemists are not covered under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
Some medical practitioners feel that if the government were to make prescription of generics compulsory, it should also ensure that prices of these drugs are uniform in each category. If that were to be so, the government would need to make further amendments in the existing legal and regulatory framework.