Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday Welcomed SKIMS hospital circular wherein doctors have been directed to prescribe generic drugs instead of expensive branded drugs.
Hailing the move, DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan urged other hospitals in Kashmir valley to follow the suit.
Following an order by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), India, the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura yesterday directed doctors to prescribe generic drugs only.
“This would bring relief to patients especially poor who are not able to buy expensive branded medicines,” said Dr Hassan.
He said generic medicines are copycat versions of branded drugs and are equal to their branded counterparts in terms of strength, quality, efficacy and safety.
They cost 80 to 90 percent less than the branded medicines as manufactures do not have to spend on the development and promotion of the drug.
The DAK President said generic drugs make treatment affordable for cancer patients and, as a result, save lives.
Research has shown that generic drugs significantly reduce deaths among cancer patients.
Two studies published in the Lancet medical journal have found that the use of two inexpensive generic drugs – aromatase inhibitors and Bisphosphonates – significantly improved survival rates in postmenopausal women with breast cancer. With the introduction of generic form of “Gleevec”, the drug used for blood cancer, many lives were saved.
“Use of generic drugs in other chronic medical conditions, like diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular ailments would result in long term adherence to essential therapies. It was because of generic drugs that saved millions of lives with AIDS,” he said.
Dr Nisar said while generic drug use has increased over time, in JK doctors continue to dole out expensive branded drugs when equally effective and cheaper versions are available.
“There is a perception generated that because generic drugs are cheaper, they will be less effective,” he said adding we need to raise awareness among people that would change their perception towards generic drugs.