In a bid to provide affordable drugs to people, the Maharashtra government has decided to float medical shops dispensing generic drugs at all government-run hospitals.
Generic drugs, or non-branded drugs, are sold under their chemical name and have the same active ingredients as normal drugs. However, they cost 30% to 80% less. Currently, the government provides generic drugs only to patients admitted into their hospitals, and it is free only for those below poverty line.
The issue of generic drugs came to the fore after actor Aamir Khan in his chat show ‘Satyamev Jayate’ highlighted the initiative of the Rajasthan government, which has generic drug shops.
Public health minister Suresh Shetty on Thursday held a meeting with S Sharma, health secretary from the Rajasthan government, which already has generic medicine shops that dispense drugs free of cost.
“We wanted to understand their model and incorporate a central government scheme that gives us subsidy to open such shops. We are planning to start generic medicine stores at government hospitals and see the response,” Shetty said.
He said in a comparison he made between a generic medicine and branded drug had a difference of almost 15 times.
A senior official from the public health department said the government already had the required software designed for procuring these medicines and warehouses to store them.
However, medical experts point out that not all drugs are available in the generic form and some do not have the active ingredient as present in the original drug to take care of a particular ailment.