Misconception about generic medicines

The issue of generic medicines has again surfaced nowadays. Most patients believe that doctors are writing drugs which are not generic but the fact is otherwise. Most of the medicines available in India are actually generic. Original research molecules form very small percentage in India.

I do agree that medicines should be given at cheaper rate. Our government should make every effort to reduce the cost of medicines. But, this has to done by Government of India not by putting blame on doctors.

In recent times issue of generic medicine has again surfaced. Our Prime minister sent a statement so, ‘generic medicine’ has become buzz word just like ‘intolerance’ last year.  A couple of movies also came in this regard but none really made any effort to tell the public what these generic medicines meant.

Meaning of generic drugs is, a company selling molecules invented by another company after said patent period.

Top Indian pharmaceutical companies are SUN, CIPLA, MICROLABS etc. These companies sell medicines under some brand names. Nearly 100% of molecules sold by these companies were never invented by them. This means that these are generic medicines. This also means 80 to 90% of top branded medicines available in India are generic medicines only.

Generic medicine

Putting blame on doctors.

If the issue is the cost of medicines then the government can just direct Indian companies to reduce the MRP rather than beating around the bush.

Asking doctors to write molecule name will not ensure cheaper medicines to our patients, in fact, it may increase the cost of medicine because shopkeepers will sell the product in which he gets highest profit margin, and quality of the sold medicine may be poor.

Apart from above issue many times writing a molecule name for medicines is nearly impossible for example. Combination drugs sometimes contain 5 to 6 molecules with difficult to remember concentrations.

Original research versus Genric medicines.

I know in India talking about the quality of the original brand is no use, because generic medicines are big buzz word here. One of the intolerant celebrity to gain public image conducted TV show on generic medicines, of course, he encashed one crore of rupees per TV show.

These celebrities do become brand ambassadors to products like coke and Pepsi, etc. If pharmaceutical companies had made them as brand ambassadors probably he would never utter a word against them. (This would increase the cost of medicines also)

Original research product is not always expensive compared to generic: – for example, ramipril origin research brand is cheaper compared other top branded Indian generic ramipril.

Many of the less popular generic medicines (quality of these again questionable) are actually expensive compared to top branded generic and original research medicine. These less popular generic medicines have huge profit margin for sellers.


The government should just cap the price of medicine rathers than insisting medical fraternity to write complex molecule names.

Author: Dr Umesh Bilagi

MBBS, MD, DM (cardiology). I am Interventional cardiologist. Blogging is my passion. Associate professor of cardiology KIMS Hubli. Director and consultant at Tatwadarsha Hospital Hubli. Owner of Jeevan Jyoti Hospital Hubli. Mobile +91 9343403620.

4 thoughts on “Misconception about generic medicines”

  1. On prescription…Generic names of medicine is a welcome move….That need to be supplemented with price check from govt . Side.

    1. Fact in India most doctors are writing generic brands only since ages. Hardly we have original research products available in our country.

      This new halla gulla created just for sake of popularly drama is bad thing

  2. Why should i leave the fate of my patient’s life to a chemist? I have the responsibility to give the best possible medicines to my patients who have travelled 100 miles for my consultation.

    1. Government has to understand it. If patients think prescribed brand is expensive no doctor prevents them to choose their so called generic drugs

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