Nellore: In the backdrop of some pharmaceutical companies charging higher prices for generic medicines, the drug control wing has been advising the public to check the maximum retail price written on most medicines by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).
Customers can download an app known as- Pharma Sahi Daam developed by NPPA to cross-check the actual price of the drug. Drug control wing officials said they would book cases against those who ignored NPPA rates.
They said they have already filed criminal cases against five pharmaceutical companies based in North India for printing higher MRP on the strips contrary to the price determined by NPPA.
Deputy Director of Drug Control Department B. Suresh Babu said, “A generic medicine is a pharmaceutical drug that is equivalent to a brand-name product in dosage, strength, route of administration, quality, performance, and intended use, but does not carry the brand name. The generic drug has the same active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) as the original, but may differ in characteristics such as manufacturing process, formulation, excipients, colour, taste, and packaging.”
He said the inventor of any medicine has rights over the product for 20 years and it will become generic thereafter and anyone can produce the drug.
Since there are hardly any inventions in India, he said 99 per cent of the drugs in the country are generic. He invited the public to give written complaints if they come across any difference in the MRP printed on the strip compared to NPPA rates. Meanwhile, Red Cross India Nellore Unit chairman, Dr AV Subhramanyam, has suggested to the government to print GENERIC in bold red letters prominently on the strips of generic medicines to prevent manufacturing companies from cheating the public.
“The public can't tell whether the medicines are generic or not since all the generic medicines have trade names with five-fold increase in MRP rates. Medical shops have been selling generic trade name medicines as regular medicines with MRP and some of them offer 10 to 15 per cent discount to attract customers,” Dr Subhramanyam alleged.
Dr Subhramanyam, who is responsible for opening an exclusive generic medicines outlet near the district court in Nellore a few years back, says there is no need to start separate generic medical shops with the support of the government if GENERIC is printed in bold letters and authentic MRP on medicine boxes.
Meanwhile, Telangana state chemists association president Suman Gupta said, The registered retailers give medicines according to the prescription by doctors.” In cities no such incidents have been reported where people are forced to buy full strips.
Chemist’s licence seized for 5 days
It is a common practice for chemists to insist that customers buy the full strip of tablets even if the prescription is just for one or two tablets.
The drug control department, probably for the first time, closed a medical shop in Nellore and suspended its licence temporarily for five days from June 21 to 25, for the above practice.
This will send a clear message to all medical shops to supply whatever the quantity the customer needs, said Assistant Director of Drug Control, B Suresh Babu. He said drug shop licensees have been warned not to insist on customers buying more than they need.
He said the shop located near Nippo factory in Nellore was inspected after a customer complained that the staff had refused to give him four tablets of Hifenac-TH which cost `15 each. The customer was forced to buy a strip containing 10 tablets spending `150.
“Besides the customer's complaint we found some other shortcomings and suspended the licence for five days,” Mr Babu said.
He said the shop has taken back six tablets and returned the cash to the customer.
“There is no such rule that people should buy an entire strip in Andhra Pradesh state,” Mr Babu said making it clear that no medical shop can dictate terms to the customer if they come with a proper prescription and the drug is available in the outlet.
He advised the public to obtain bills for any transaction in medical shops as they are mandatory to lodge complaints in writing.
He said legal action is being taken against 17 medical shops of 31 they inspected during the last two days as part of a special drive on the orders of the Director General of Drug Control Administration. The chemist shops where functioning without a qualified pharmacist....