Government plans to colour code generic drugs

  1. The government has planned to colour code generic drugs. This would enable consumers to differentiate between generic drugs and other medicines and take an informed decision while purchasing medicines. The government is also considering use of symbols to make generic drugs easily identifiable.
  2. Nearly all drugs have three types of names: a) the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), b) the non-proprietary or generic (commonly INN) and c) the brand name. Some countries, such as the U.S., Britain and Japan, have their own generic names or approved names. The International Non-proprietary Name (INN) is an official generic and non-proprietary name given to a pharmaceutical drug or an active ingredient
  3. United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) describes a generic drug “as identical-or bioequivalent-to a brand name drug in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use. Once patents have expired, companies other than the original manufacturer can produce and sell the drug. This usually results in significant reduction in costs. These off-patent drugs are called generics internationally. However, in India, medicines marketed exclusively with INN names are called generics or generic medicine.
  4. The Indian Health Ministry has taken several initiatives to promote sale of generic medicines over branded ones. These include a) it has made it mandatory for pharmacies to have separate shelves for displaying generic drugs, b) asked doctors to prescribe generic drugs in legible handwriting, c) asked companies to print generic names on their labels in a font 2 times larger than the brand name, d) Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP): It is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses. Jan Aushadi stores have been set up to provide generic drugs.