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Prescribe the right pill

Doctors must be encouraged to prescribe generic drugs and not specific brands

Prescribe the right pill 

“Not what the doctor ordered” (August 24) is a great editorial, offering focused suggestions to improve the scope and implementation of the new policy.

The government must not grab the power vested with the regulator; that could kill the very purpose of a regulator. Equally important is the editorial comment, “Direct price control is a backward-looking strategy.” Strict control on the functioning of chemists and a sharp eye on fake drugs are other crucial aspects.

Greater emphasis on the quality of drugs and standards of production facilities is extremely important not only for the well-being of the people but also to provide a fillip to exports. “Fudging of efficacy data” should be made a criminal offence.

I have three more suggestions that should help the cause of patients, the raison d’etre of the whole exercise. The interest of the pharmaceutical industry must come after that of the consumer. 

1) The government must end the unethical practice of high maximum retail prices, which allows manufacturers to offer abnormally high “discounts” — at times, 50 per cent or more. This creates room for malpractices and exploitation of the patients.

2) Doctors must be encouraged to prescribe and not specific brands — another “trick of the trade” to fleece patients. The UK has followed this practice for a very long time.

3) Expiry dates on drugs seem to be deliberately short. Several studies have found that to be so. Expiry dates should be rational.

Krishan Kalra, Gurgaon

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First Published: Thu, August 24 2017. 22:33 IST