October 13, 2008

Medicines may cost up to 93% less in govt’s special stores

Treatment for common ailments such as diabetics, ulcer and hypertension may soon become cheaper. The government’s initiative to set up a retail network of special drug stores to sell unbranded generic medicines, may bring down cost of some medication by a whopping 93%.

The department of pharmaceutical has made a comparative study of treatment cost in case of unbranded drugs and their branded counterparts marketed by pharma majors like Ranbaxy, Dr Reddy’s, Cipla, GSK and Pfizer. The move aims at ending company-chemist nexus, which tries to push costlier branded medicines to customers in the name of substitutes. Experts say the move is likely to trigger reduction in prices of branded drugs.

According to the draft concept note for setting up of generic drugs store, prepared by the department, anti-bacterial azithromycin 500-mg tablet could be made available at Rs 10 while Vicon 500-mg tablets of Pfizer cost Rs 78.30. This consumption of branded tablets for three days (one a day) costs Rs 235, but the cost of treatment with unbranded generic medication will be as low as Rs 30, down by 87%.

Similarly, the generic version of amoxycillin 500-mg capsules will be made available at Rs 3.50, while Novamox 500-mg capsules of Cipla sells at Rs 8.10. While consumption of branded capsules for seven days (thrice a day) would cost Rs 170, unbranded generic medication will lower the cost by 57%.

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