Purchase of medicines constitutes the single largest component of the total ‘Out Of Pocket’ payments by households, which contribute to more than 66.6% of healthcare expenditure. Today, around 40% of Indians live on less than Rs. 72 per day and healthcare is one of the major areas of expense. According to WHO reports, nearly half of the world’s population is deprived of standard health coverage. More than 95 million are poverty-ridden due to their medical bills and almost 800 million use most of their household budget on medicines, including from India.
People often struggle to choose between branded and non-branded products across segments. Simply put, they tend to judge the quality of what is not branded. The concept of generic medicines is well established in the west, 89 percent of all prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. last year filled with a generic drug but it is in an emerging stage in India. That is where the generic medicine industry comes into play with a three-dimensional agenda of offering authenticity, affordability, and accessibility, customers are offered and provided with quality medicines approved by WHO & FDA in striving to ascertain the efficacy of generic drugs at par with branded medicines.
The industry’s exclusive approach in keeping the awareness aspect in mind and educating the general public on the authenticity and benefits of generic medicine is part of a long-term vision. The grey area lies in people’s willingness to believe in the effectiveness of these medicines. However, the fact that they have the same chemical composition as patented medicines essentially needs to be conveyed to compensate for the absence of customer knowledge in this regard. The market availability of top-quality generic medicines calls for spreading this awareness across regions and social strata.
The way in which information is carried across to the public makes a large difference in consumer behavior. Hence, the educative approach has a direct correlation with how customers accept generic medicines. There is a constant effort to educate them to create awareness regarding the advantages of using generic medicines. Now, with the Pradhan Mantri Janaushadhi Kendra, the government’s initiative to promote the use of generic medicines would be a smoother ride in carrying across benefits of the same to the public across different sections of society and save their out-of-pocket expenses on medicines. The objective lies in ensuring proper healthcare among people who often tend to ignore the hazardous implications on their health simply because of high cost of medicines that are branded.
It is imperative that these drugs are approved by WHO or other registered healthcare authorities. This is vital to establish credibility of generic medicines. Going forward, the idea is to save capital and promote research to find new molecules that would cure a particular disease as suitable substitutes for branded medicines that are highly expensive. Sales volumes might be affected because of greater consumption of generic medicines in comparison with branded varieties, but it is the future owing to discrepancy in income levels triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a mandatory aspect of diversity and inclusion where people with less purchasing power can afford treatment through generic medicines, therefore being consumer-friendly.
Today, India is at a prominent position with a rapidly growing presence in global pharmaceuticals. It is the largest provider of generic medicines worldwide, occupying a 20% share in global supply by volume, and supplies over 50% of global demand for various vaccines, catering to 40% of generic demand in the US and 25% of all medicine in UK. India is the source of 60,000 generic brands across 60 therapeutic categories and manufactures more than 500 different Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs). The export of generic drugs is one of India’s core strengths. Extending the landscape of generic medicines as part of sustainable development for the future is therefore crucial.
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