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 Generic drugs are NOT equivalent  to spurious

M3 India Newsdesk Sep 27, 2017

“Do doctors have a negative perception of safety, quality and the efficacy of generic medicines?”







The answer could be complex.Generic drugs have never enjoyed a place of preference among Indian doctors this far. Generics are presumed to have lower quality, efficacy and safety due to misconceptions surrounding them.The cause of a negative perception could be the limited use of generic medicines and uncertainty of results.

There is often, a confusion, between a patented, generic and spurious drug. Clinicians tend to conflate the terms generic and spurious, believing both to be the same, and believing them to be harmful or not of good quality. 

The efforts to reduce the drug expenditure and improve the medicine affordability in the society is worthwhile.

India has one of the highest per capita out-of-pocket expenditures on health.

Even a small even a modest drop in drug prices will free hundreds of households from the widespread phenomenon of a medical poverty trap.

If a patient can get a dose of the same antibiotic for Rs. 50 instead of Rs. 300, he’s probably likely not only adhere to the medication regime but will also save valuable money . In India, healthcare is one of the major reasons why people are driven to poverty. Prescribing reputed generics reduces this, and also helps you build trust with patients for prescribing rationally.

It is worthwhile to understand the real differences in quality as opposed to perceptions and misconceptions about generic drugs.


Acess to low-cost medicines have far-reaching implications on public health, especially in a developing nation like ours. Here are a few pointers which seek to throw light on a few fundamentals about generic drugs. This should help the doctors in making fair choices while dealing with masses.

 Generic drugs are NOT equivalent  to spurious

 Spurious/counterfeit drugs are produced illegally, without proper manufacturing practices, clearances or licenses which sometimes make way into medical stores.They imitate labels, designs, and packaging but the product inside is either fake, contaminated or potentially dangerous. These are not produced by reputed manufacturers but only imitate their appearance. They are NOT equivalent to generics and are of low quality.

In sum, generics are a critical component of the healthcare system and contrary to the belief of some, are good quality, low-cost alternatives of many life-saving medications. Some regulations have now stated that doctors can write the drug’s name (Paracetamol, instead of writing Crocin or Calpol), and let the consumer decide. But in case a patient is not educated enough to decide on his own, it is worthwhile for doctors to be aware of good quality generics to allow the patient to get good quality, yet cheap medication to treat his illness.

Low priced generics DO NOT equal to compromised quality

 Bioequivalence, and the subsequent regulatory and safety clearances from the Drug Controller General of India ensures that the generic producer must demonstrate equal quality while creating a generic product. So, the quality of the product is NOT compromised at all, when it is produced with proper legal approval by a reputed company.The manufacturing standards and regulations are same for both and many innovator companies own the generic manufacturing units.

Generics can afford to keep the pricing low mainly because the generic manufacturing company did not have to spend money to develop the drug, and also because it is manufactured after patent expiry. When a company develops a drug, it is a years-long process and often takes up to a billion dollars or more to discover a drug and bring it to the market after all the regulatory and clinical processes. The patent is a kind of reward given to it for its effort. The generics are then simply living off of the drug development efforts of another company. Naturally, if you have many generic competitors, and if you haven’t spent on researching and developing the drug, you can keep prices lower and still be profitable as many Indian generic manufacturers are.


The writer is a qualified pharmacist and public health researcher. He is currently working as an independent researcher on an epidemiological research project.

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