BJP MP Shanta Kumar, who headed a a parliamentary panel recommending a law for doctors to prescribe only generic drugs, today hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's support to the cause. A day after Modi said his government may bring in such a law to benefit patients, Kumar said the parliamentary committee headed by him had made such a recommendation in 2012 as generic drugs cost less than half of branded medicines and are equally effective. Kumar said the move will provide the poor cheap drugs without any government expenditure. The veteran parliamentarian, who is a Lok Sabha member from Kangra, said in a statement that patients in India are denied generic drugs as doctors "benefit" from pharmaceutical companies for writing branded medicines. "That is why the committee headed by me had recommended that there should be a law to ensure that doctors write only generic drugs," he said. Kumar (82), said he met and often wrote to the then prime minister, health minister and chemical and fertiliser minister for accepting its recommendations but in vain. "By making this announcement, Modi has proved that his government is dedicated to the poor.
The Congress government could not take such a decision because it worked under the pressure of multi-national pharma companies while the Modi government works under the pressure of helping the poor," he said. He said it is unfortunate that Indian pharma companies are a leading player in global generic drug manufacturing business and the US, the Europe and global bodies like UNICEF buy medicines from them but the Indian poor do not benefit from their products. Calling the recommendation of the committee path- breaking, he said he was grateful to 30 other MPs, who were its members and belonged to different parties.