ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bane of Prescribed Brands

Ajay IN USA and UK, the functioning and practices of the pharmaceutical industry have been subjected to many public inquiries on the ground that the supranational enterprises which control the drugs market are securely in a position to exploit their consumers. Drugs are the one group of products the purchase of which cannot be postponed and which have quite often to be purchased regardless of their price. Moreover, the consumer has no choice regarding the brand that he buys. The brand is chosen for him by the prescribing doctor who does not have to pay for it, and who is generally not aware of its price or the availability of cheaper substitutes. The banal feature of the drug trade is that drugs are produced, prescribed, and sold by their brand names and not by their generic names, although the different brands may con- tain the same basic ingredients of the same strength having the same therapeutic efficiency. That drugs are widely known primarily by their brand names is one of the major factors responsible for the wide price differential between different brands of the same drug, as well as the much wider price differential between a branded drug and its generic equivalent (eg, a bottle of 100 aspirin .tablets costs about Rs 1.50 while each tablet of 'Aspro' costs 15 paise).

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