Substitutes of Prescription Medicines - A Review of Concerns Relevant to Doctors and Patients FE01-FE05
Dr. Jayant Kumar Kairi,
Professor and Head, Department of Pharmacology, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, NH-3, NIT,
Faridabad, Haryana-121001, India.
A very large part of India’s population fulfils its healthcare needs from government run healthcare delivery system which is free, contributory or highly subsidised. Use of medicines forms a large part of healthcare facility. As the number of medicines and brands are ever increasing in today’s market, it is usual for pharmacy to substitute a generic instead of the prescribed brand or a different brand if the prescribed brand is not available. Depending on the type of substitute, it could fall under ‘generic’ or ‘therapeutic’ substitution. For any condition, there may be numerous medicines existing, some of which probably got introduced more recently, may be more expensive and erroneously perceived to act better than the earlier known medications for the same ailment. Also, due to very high number of medicines that are approved and available for use in the market, it is impossible to stock all the medicines in any pharmacy. Generic and therapeutic substitutions should be formalised and implemented by institutions, with the consent and cooperation of all the stake holders as guided by World Health Organisation. The advantages and limitations of medicine substitutes are discussed in the review..