Saturday, May 18, 2024

Generic drugs effective even in diseases like cancer: PGI Director

The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here on Saturday reiterated its commitment to prescribe and promote generic drugs with its Director Vivek Lal saying studies have shown that they are effective in lethal diseases like cancer.

“Even in transplant and in preventing rejection of transplant, generic drugs are equally effective and that too at one fifth of the price of their counterparts in branded category,” Lal said.

“The yardstick is to procure the right generic medicines from the right chemist,” he said at a press conference organised to deliberate on the issue of efficacy and other misconceptions regarding generic drugs.

Deliberating about the efficacy of the generic drugs, Lal cited evidence from a published study, ‘Real world experience with generic pomalidomide in relapsed refractory multiple myeloma’.

In India, he said, only generic counterpart of the pomalidomide is available and not the original one, as it’s very expensive.

“So, the FDI is using only the generic counterpart. As per the study cited, there is a superior response to generic drugs as compared to the innovative drugs available in the US. The encouraging experience adds evidence to the efficacy of the generic drug even in such challenging patients such as multiple myeloma,” he said.

The PGIMER Director further quoted another published study, ‘Cost and complications are limitations in resource-constrained settings for equine anti-thymocyte globulin’, and said, “We are a leading public sector hospital in organ transplant and we celebrated 50 years of renal transplant on June 21. The most important part of transplantation is preparing a patient for transplant, otherwise the patient’s body rejects the kidney. In that preparation, the most important drug to prepare a patient for transplant is a drug called antithymocyte globulin, ATG.

“This study published from the PGI has proven that not only is generic effective preparing a patient for transplant and preventing subsequent rejection, even half dose generic is as effective as the innovative drugs available across the globe.”

Dispelling the myth about quality control in the Jan Aushdhi Centres, Lal said, “Outside the US, India has the maximum number of FDA approved factories in the world. We at PGIMER take drugs from WHO approved plants and then every batch is checked by NABL labs at regular intervals. So, quality is ensured at the Jan Aushdhi Centres. It’s difficult to ensure the same quality when medicine is taken from any other pharmacy as ethics of the owner of the pharmacy also impact the quality.”

Highlighting further, he said the institute prefers to procure generic drugs and a testimony to the same is the fact that during 2022-23, the total drugs purchased by the PGIMER comprised 88 per cent of generic drugs and only 12 per cent of branded drugs.

“The total sales from seven Amrit Pharmacy Centres for the last three months (April 1 to June 23) amounted to Rs 44 crore, the highest in the country in any public sector hospital.

“The total sales from the two Jan Aushadhi Centres at the PGIMER, which stock only medicines and not surgical appliances as in Amrit Pharmacy, for the same period amounted to Rs 72 lakh,” Lal said.

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