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Indian Medical Association Meets Mandaviya to Voice Concerns over Mandatory Generic Drug Prescription by NMC

Written by : Aishwarya Sarthe

August 23, 2023

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Medical associations have expressed concerns about compulsory prescriptions of generic drugs. Due to uncertainties surrounding the quality of such medicines, they argued making their prescription mandatory is not feasible.

In a recent development, members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) held discussions with Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to express their reservations about the National Medical Commission (NMC) regulation that mandates doctors to prescribe generic medicines. 

The representatives also proposed that registered medical practitioners should be permitted to participate in conferences supported by pharmaceutical companies or the allied health sector.

The central concern the medical associations raised pertained to the compulsory prescription of generic drugs. They argued that due to uncertainties surrounding the quality of such medicines, making their prescription mandatory would not be practical. 

Dr. Sharad Kumar Agarwal, national president of IMA, emphasised that medical science is constantly evolving, and doctors need to stay updated with the latest developments and medicines through conferences. Therefore, the request was made to allow clinicians to attend conferences supported by pharmaceutical companies.

The IMA underscored that the Health Minister provided a platform for all stakeholders to voice their concerns, reflecting his commitment to comprehending diverse viewpoints. 

Earlier, the IMA had requested the deferral of the NMC regulations requiring doctors to prescribe generic drugs. The primary issue highlighted by the IMA was the lack of assurance regarding the quality of generic drugs. Shockingly, less than 0.1% of drugs manufactured in India undergo quality testing.

According to the "Regulations relating to Professional Conduct of Registered Medical Practitioners" by the NMC, doctors must prescribe generic drugs to avoid penalties, including potential suspension of their practicing licence. The regulations also urge doctors to refrain from prescribing branded generic drugs.

In addition to generic medicine prescriptions, the NMC regulations establish strict guidelines regarding interactions between medical practitioners and pharmaceutical companies. Acceptance of gifts, travel perks, cash grants, or entertainment from pharmaceutical companies or their representatives is prohibited. 

The regulations ensure that medical practitioners maintain their professional integrity and independence.

Furthermore, the NMC prohibits medical practitioners from participating in third-party educational activities, such as seminars, workshops, and conferences, if pharmaceutical companies or the allied health sector sponsors these events. 

This step eliminates potential biases and conflicts of interest in medical education.

The ongoing discussions between the IMA, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), and the health minister underscore the complexities surrounding generic medication prescriptions and their implications for the medical community. 

As the medical landscape continues to evolve, finding a balanced approach that addresses the need for quality medical care and the concerns of healthcare professionals remains a challenge.


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