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MCDA Clarifies On Spurious Drugs Report

IMPHAL, Jan 11: Medicines that are suspected to be sub-standard and spurious are those of propaganda companies that have been entering into the markets of Manipur leaps and bounds, Manipur Chemists & Druggists Association (MCDA) has clarified.

Reacting to a news report published on January 6 in this paper, MCDA asserted that the news report has not only misinformed the public but also misinterpreted the whole issue.

In a joint statement, MCDA president N Sarat Kumar Singh and general secretary Dr RK Ratan Kumar Singh observed that the question of whether the medicines being used by the patients lack quality or not in Manipur has come about following the presence of an increasing number of propaganda companies which are trying to promote their medicines unethically by luring some doctors. Even more disturbing is the fact that upto 45 percent of the medicines manufactured by such companies are being prescribed in Imphal area alone today. But the news report has misleadingly presented all the medicines including those manufactured by genuine companies as well as those suspected to be sub-standard as generic.

The truth is that marketing of generic medicines in India is being carried out under the International level agreement on GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariff) & DRUNKEL Policy that the Government of India signed with the stated objective of increasing the market share of generic medicines in the open market to 70 percent, the MCDA said.

So far, India has been able to control the market of 10 percent of the generic medicines. But in case of Manipur, it is only 3 percent and that too mostly in interior markets, the joint statement added.

With India trying to abolish monopoly of branded medicines with exception to patented drugs and convert them into generic within 10 years as per the GATT and DRUNKEL Policy, companies have been trying to merge among themselves in order to survive, it informed.

Unfortunately, in Manipur the sign of implementing this policy of India is yet to be seen and the generic medicines are being sold as OTC in some pharmacies, it added.

On the other hand, the joint statement went on to explain that the generic companies which are entering Manipur today are mostly well established national and multinational companies. But the possibility of some nondescript generic companies making their presence felt in Manipur in the guise of established ones may not be ruled out. MCDA in consultation with the authority is trying to curb marketing of medicines manufactured by such fishy companies.

The joint statement further clarified that NICIP Tab. (Nimusulite) that has been mentioned in the news report is a branded generic manufactured by CIPLA Company which is a no. 1 rank company India known the world over in connection with manufacturing medicines meant for treatment of HIV. Similarly,

Almox Capsule (Amoxacillin) is also a branded generic manufactured by Alkem Laboratories, which is at 4th rank in India and no. 1 rank in North East.

The price of the generic medicines is decided under DPCO and more profit margins that are being given to retailers are through waiving of the marketing expenses by the companies. So, if the two companies mentioned in the news report started raising questioned in this regard, it may be difficult to answer them.

Threat on the health of the people in Manipur is not from the generic medicines but from increasing number propaganda companies that have no proper factory of their own and a resorting to unethical marketing.

To find out the possibility of presence of sub-standard/spurious drugs in Manipur and to prevent marketing of such medicines, MCDA has brought a policy program to the notice of the Government for framing necessary rules. At such a junction, dragging in the issue of generic has not only misinformed the public but has also created some confusion.

The joint statement further appealed to the authority and every section of the society for co-operation in the efforts being made by MCDA to bring out a list of generic companies in consultation with Government authorities and other pharmaceutical experts within January, 2011.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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