Tripura to introduce generic drugs

Agartala, Oct 21 (IANS): Emulating Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, the Left Front government in Tripura has decided to start providing non-branded generic medicines from this year to cut the cost of medical treatment, state health minister Tapan Chakraborty said Monday.

"The Tripura government will deliver generic medicines instead of branded medicines to patients in all government hospitals and health centres from this year," Chakraborty told reporters.

Branded medicines cost 2-15 times more than non-branded generic medicines.

Tamil Nadu was the first state in India to introduce generic medicines in 1994.

"In executing the generic medicine scheme, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu have done well. A team of doctors from Tripura recently visited Rajasthan to observe and study the implementation of generic medicine scheme in that state," he added.

The minister said that through government outlets, the state health department would supply around 300 generic drugs to the health institutions, including state, district and primary health centres and hospitals.

"To implement the generic medicine scheme, the entire system would be computerised," the health minister said.

"We would also request doctors across Tripura to prescribe generic drugs to patients when they privately attend to ailing people," Chakraborty said.

Tripura health secretary M. Nagaraju said generic medicines are very popular in African and Latin American countries.

"Though most states in India are yet to introduce the generic drugs, the country has been exporting huge quantities of generic medicines to various countries every year," said Nagaraju, who was in the World Bank until recently.

The Rajasthan government has set up a corporation to collect medicines in bulk from sources and supply these to patients through notified outlets.

"Prices of branded medicines are normally much higher than rates of equivalent generic medicines due to various reasons, including that of the marketing process," Nagaraju added.

Tripura health department director Satya Ranjan Debbarma said that the department has entered into an agreement with the Tripura State Cooperative Department to start a pharmacy of generic medicine inside the Govind Ballabh Pant Medical College and Hospital here.


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