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What doctors think about the affordability of drugs in India?

M3 India Newsdesk Nov 23, 2017

We conducted an online survey for Indian doctors and invited their opinion on drug prices in India and if they considered that cost of medicines was “affordable”.



The survey carried a few simple and direct questions for the Indian doctor community. The doctors were requested to respond voluntarily over a period of 2 weeks. A total of 125 doctors responded to the online questionnaire.

Please click here if you would like to be a part of such online surveys.

Demographics of the respondents

  • The respondents were split equally between Metro and Non-Metro cities
  • Nearly 50% of respondents were in the age bracket of 30-39 years, about 25% were above the age of 40 years

Overall view of pricing

When asked about their general opinion on the drug pricing in India, here is what the doctors responded for different categories of drugs.

Original patented drug

Approximately 85% of doctors feel that the prices of original and patented drugs, those mainly manufactured by multinational companies, are expensive. Only 11% doctors considered the pricing to be “appropriate”

Branded Generic Drugs

54% doctors believed that “branded generic drugs”, those manufactured by famous domestic companies, were expensive. In comparison, 40% of the doctors thought they were “appropriate”.

Generic Drugs

The pricing of Generic generic drugs (manufactured by smaller domestic companies) was not a concern for most doctors. In fact, about 50% felt they were either somewhat or “too cheap”



How important a factor, is affordability?

Affordability is a key factor while prescribing for Indian doctors as about 86% consider it very important and another 13% consider this as somewhat important.

When the doctors were asked to choose among options which best described their stance about “expensive drugs”, here is what the doctors responded:

  • 61% doctors chose “I prescribe only if recommended by guidelines”.
  • While 26% doctors chose “ I only prescribe when I get good reviews from doctors who have used it”.



Recently expensive drugs in Oncology such as Immune checkpoint inhibitors have been introduced in India. We expect some more to follow.Furthermore, some Gene Therapy drugs have just got approval from FDA.But these drugs tend to be much more expensive than standard drugs currently being prescribed.We asked doctors about their opinion on such drugs and about their introduction in India?



Very expensive for cancer patients and it adds to existing confusion on whether to give such expensive treatment or not, if given at what cost to the patient as there is no conclusive evidence of cure. - Surgical Oncologist, Bangalore,Age 30-39 years



They can change the outcome of disease and in nearly 15 to 28% cases can cause long term disease free state. The costs in such situation is acceptable. Patient assistance programs will make their use improved...

- Medical Oncologist, Bangalore, Age 40-49 years



We have presented the data and facts as they are without generalizing the results as a reflection of the views of entire Indian doctor population. The demographic profile of the survey participants [shown above] may differ from the population of all Indian Doctors. Also, limiting the sample to the Internet channel only may introduce bias in the results. We also urge that the findings should not be interpreted as implying cause and effect.


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