Faculty of Public Health - Andalas University - OCS, 13th IEA SEA Meeting and ICPH - SDev

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Disparity in Access to Generic Drugs in India

Last modified: 2018-08-07


Background: Affordable generic drug brings health equity in resource poor settings by improving access to essential drugs and curtailing the out-of-pocket expenses. Indian government has introduced an generic drug scheme in 2008 (Now Pradhan-Mantri-Bhartiya-Jan-Aushadhi-Pariyojna-PMBJP).

Methods: The study employed systematic review and analyzed secondary data to assess the status and price of generic and branded drugs in general and specifically for anti-diabetic and antihypertensive drugs.

Findings: The public PMBJP scheme is providing low-cost 570 generic drugs and 153 surgical items only through 2548 stores, covering 88.6 sub national regions (states). About 70% of stores are in 8 states having half of Indian population. There are 2.1(range: 0-20.4) PMBJP stores per-one-million-population. States with more than 1/4th of its population as vulnerable scheduled castes have 1.7 PMBJP stores per-one-million-population. Out of 42 drug molecules available in the market for hypertension, PMBJP includes only 10 drugs and with limited dosage forms with the price difference of 14.75-306.5 INR per unit package. The results for antidiabetic are similar. The estimated savings per unit package of generic drug use is 15.7%-97.1% in comparison to the branded drug.


Interpretation: There is marked disparity in accessing generic drugs through the urban-centric and scarce PMBJP stores.

Keywords: Equity, out of pocket expenditure, Health Policy.