E-DRUG: Medical doctors & belief in brand names (10)
This is an interesting discussion which goes back a number of years. The
fact that we discuss it today shows that little has been achieved in changing
the attitude, behaviour and positions in this respect. One or two things can be
done to change the 'belief'. For example, education can be used as an avenue to
address the 'belief': the difference between 'patent product' and a 'generic
product' needs to be addressed objectively, and the education process can help
in that. Another approach is health policy. At the end of the day, a doctor is
not an independent unit who can decide what to provide to a patient (of course
in the very long past that was the case!). There is national guidance in that
process. Many countries suffer from a lack of clear policy on pharmaceutical
products, specifically in the use of brands and generics (the Netherlands'
decision is a case in point).
There may be 'National Formulary' committee or similar bodies, but an
assessment of their guidelines often shows no reference to a national
position on patents and generics. It is often left to pharmacists in the system
to advocate one way or the other. Once that can be addressed objectively,
practitioners (prescribers and pharmacists alike) will be properly guided in
addressing and using forms of pharmaceutical products. In Zambia, we are
following that approach.
Drug Supply Budget Liine,
Ministry of Health,