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PMA rejects DRAP notification about prescription of generic name of medicines

KARACHI: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) expressed grave concern over the notification issued by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP). As per the notification, the DRAP has directed the health departments to ensure that doctors prescribe generic medicine names rather than their brand names.

Secretary-General, Pakistan Medical Association (Centre), Dr S M Qaisar Sajjad, in his statement, said that the PMA strongly condemns this move because issuing such directives is beyond the domain of the DRAP. It has exceeded its authority, which is unlawful. The Government should have contacted the stakeholders and discussed the issue at large before coming up with such a policy.

Director, DRAP, Dr Abdur Rashid, who issued this notification, is from the Pakistan Pharmacists Association (PPA). He is going to contest the elections of the PPA in the near future. It is clearly a conflict of interest, said Dr Sajjad.

The PMA believes that this notification is not beneficial for the patients or the public. It will open the doors of corruption for medical stores. They will sell the product of their choice for greater profit. This will establish a symbiotic relationship between the chains of sellers and will never benefit the public, added Dr Sajjad.

Dr Qaisar Sajjad quoted the following concerns, which should be discussed before the implementation of the generic name based prescription policy. Substandard medicine should be freely sold in the market. The DRAP should regulate pharmaceutical manufacturing for quality, efficacy and standardized medicine. The pricing and cost approval by the DRAP should be on a merit basis, and the prices of the same generic medicine of different companies should be the same.

He said medical stores should have full-time qualified pharmacists. The Government should make sure to market drugs with the generic name of the medicine. The generic medicine policy failed in 1976, so it needs to assess the causes of failure and rectify them.

He said that the PMA categorically rejects this notification in the present situation and demands the Government to withdraw it immediately.

April 23, 2021

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