Clamour is growing for passing a legislation to prompt the doctors to prescribe cheaper generic drugs instead of costly branded medicines in Jammu and Kashmir.Flagging off the debate, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) has called on the government to pass a law to make it mandatory for doctors to prescribe cheaper generic drugs in order to benefit the large poor population of the state.“Jammu and Kashmir is fully competent to bring its own legislation due to the constitutional position of the state. That would make generic drug prescribing mandatory. Unless a legal framework is put in place, the push for generic medicines will remain an idea without implementation,” said Dr Nisar ul Hassan, president of DAK.The law, DAK hoped, would make drugs affordable and accessible to poor patients who are not able to buy expensive branded drugs. “In J&K 21.63% population, comprising 24.21 lakh people do not have access to medicines due to lack of purchasing power. Generic drugs are copycat versions of branded drugs and cost 80 to 90% less than branded medicines as manufacturers do not have to spend on development and promotion of the drug”, he said.Jammu and Kashmir consumes medicines worth Rs 600 crores annually and of which Rs 400 crore is spent in Kashmir valley alone. Official figures reveal that there are 9451 licensed retailers and 6073 licensed wholesaler drug distributors in Jammu and Kashmir. Of which 4912 retaliators and 4573 wholesalers are operating in the valley.Also readJammu and Kashmir | Education gets mega boost, 16 new colleges, 400 upgraded govt schools to come up next year“Research has shown that costs were lowered significantly among patients who were prescribed generic medicines compared to patients who were given branded drugs. generic drugs account for 88% of prescriptions in the United States. In J&K doctors continue to dole out unnecessary expensive therapies when equally effective cheaper generic versions are available,” he said.DAK also red-flagged the deep-rooted nexus between doctors and pharma companies that is keeping generic drugs away from patients. “For writing costly branded drugs to gullible patients, pharma companies provide these doctors everything from luxury cars, family trips to household items,” Dr Nisar saidAlso readFrom helpline to WhatsApp number: Steps taken to help women in distress in Jammu and Kashmir DAK president noted that even the chemist shops get huge margins for selling branded medicines. “Nexus is misleading people about generic drugs that is preventing these drugs from getting popular”, said Dr Nisar.

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Jammu and Kashmir: Clamour grows for legislation on generic drugs