Generic drugs issue: Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya to meet IMA, NMC brass today

NEW DELHI: Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya has called a meeting on Monday to discuss the newly-notified regulation – National Medical Commission Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023 – which, among other things, makes prescription of generic drugs a must for doctors. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has been vehemently opposing this move.

Sources said the meeting called by the minister will be attended by the national president and two other representatives from IMA. The chairman of the National Medical Commission, Union health secretary and the director general of Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance will also be present.

NMC in its “regulations relating to professional conduct of registered medical practitioners” has stated that all doctors should prescribe generic drugs. It also asked them to avoid prescribing branded generic drugs.

IMA says this step should be deferred till the government can assure the quality of all the drugs released into the market. Rather than taking the NMC route the government should take the pharma route and ban all the branded drugs, the IMA said, adding the government allows several categories such as branded and branded generic and permits pharmaceutical companies to sell the same product at different prices. “We are going to put forward our concerns against this mandate,” one of the senior officials of IMA said, about the proposed meeting with the health minister.

Generic or non-patented drugs come in two versions. The first are those sold under their generic or chemical composition name, for example paracetamol. The other is those sold by drug manufacturers under brand-names. Over 1,000 pharma companies sell paracetamol under various names. While one calls it Crocin, another calls it Calpol.

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