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[e-drug] For cheaper drug options, send SMS (5)

E-DRUG: For cheaper drug options, send SMS (5)
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Dear E-Druggers,

I fully agree with all the points made by Dr Anita Kotwani except however
her definition of 'branded medicines'* versus* 'branded generics' on the
basis of 'popularity' of the product. This may add to the confusion
surrounding these terminologies that otherwise generally prevail.

To keep it simple, the term 'brand' is to be reserved for referring to the
name given by the innovator company who holds the patent, before they
market the researched product.  'Generic medicines' are marketed either
under a non-proprietary name (INN), for example diazepam when they are
called the 'true generics'. Occasionally generic medicines are marketed
under another proprietary or brand name - the 'branded generics'. Thus the
'branded generics' signifies generic equivalent of the originator brand,
marketed by a company other than the innovator company, and
*usually* marketed after expiry of the patent. Therefore,
for each INN medicinal product, there is only one originator brand, there
may be many true generics and many many (no one really knows how many)
branded generics.

In India we have innumerable branded generics - no one really knows how
many. And they do differ greatly in prices. Although the prescribers
have a general belief that the lower the cost the more inferior the quality, 
there is no hard evidence that the relatively inexpensive branded generics are 
of poor quality. Rather evidence to the contrary is available. Dr Kotwani's 
Group in their recent study had shown this (Singal G, Nanda A, Kotwani A. A 
comparative evaluation of price and quality of some branded versus 
branded-generic medicines of the same manufacturer in India. Indian Journal of 
Pharmacology 2011; 43: 131-136).

Best wishes.

Dr Santanu K Tripathi
Professor of Clinical Pharmacology
Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine
Kolkata 700073

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