The Jeevandhara project, despite all good intentions of providing cheaper options to costly drugs, is yet to catch up among the public
The State government's effort to promote consumption of generic drugs in the State Capital is going nowhere. At least, this is what one can sense after a visit to the first Jeevandhara outlet at Osmania General Hospital (OGH). The project, despite all good intentions of providing cheaper options to costly drugs, is yet to catch up among the general public. And even among doctors.
The generic drug shop, Jeevandhara, at OGH, surely manages to attract a few. But the medical store, just located besides it and selling only branded drugs, is brimming with customers. Patients are practically jostling for attention of the pharmacist, who looks harried because of the rush.
Why the hesitancy?
On an average, the monthly income of such stores selling branded drugs from the premises of government hospitals like Gandhi Hospital, OGH and Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) hovers between Rs. 30 lakh and Rs. 50 lakh. While this being the case, the Jeevandhara outlet at OGH has managed to earn Rs. 7.52 lakh last month.
Apparently, this is the highest earnings of the generic drug store since it was launched in January this year. So why is it that patients, despite having a drug store nearby that offers medicines for 50 per cent less, flock to a branded medical store?
Even as new outlets of Jeevandhara are coming up, the latest at Gandhi Hospital, why is it that government doctors are still hesitant to prescribe the drug in the generic form? Persons familiar with the issue assert that government doctors in Hyderabad are not yet sure about the potency of generic drugs.
Despite an advisory from the State government, the doctors in government hospitals shy away from prescribing the chemical form of the drug and instead prescribe the brand name.
Then there are allegations of a nexus between doctors, pharmaceutical companies and kickbacks, which prevent generic drugs from getting popular. Many senior doctors also maintain that the government doctors should be taken into confidence by health authorities on the potency of generic drugs.
"Why will doctors prescribe generic drugs when they know that certain branded drugs are very potent and effective? There is little awareness even among the general public about the generic drugs. Sometimes, there are instances wherein the patient insists on a branded drug," senior doctors maintain.
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