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A Collector’s Push for Generic Medicines Bringing Relief to the Poor

Collector of BalodaBazar-Bhatapara district of Chhattisgarh, Rajat Bansal, is going all out to ensure doctors prescribe generic medicines. This push for generic medicines is aimed at providing medicines that are as good and effective as branded ones at affordable rates to patients. Soon after taking charge in his new posting, Collector Bansal convened a joint meeting with doctors and IMA representatives to discuss and roll out the idea.
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It is rightly said that if a person is determined to do good, he will not wait for the right time or proper conditions to do so. He will spread positivity wherever he goes with his welfare work. Take the case of 2012-batch IAS officer Rajat Bansal. He was transferred and posted as Collector of BalodaBazar-Bhatapara district of Chhattisgarh only two weeks ago. But from the moment he took charge, he has busied himself in initiating measures that will give relief to those people who cannot afford costly health care. He is going all out to create awareness about and promote generic medicines in the district. On his advice, even private doctors have agreed to prescribe generic medicines. And, the good news is, the district chapter of the Indian Medical Association has also given its consent to it.

Indian Masterminds interacted with District Collector BalodaBazar–Bhatapara, Mr. Rajat Bansal, to know more about this people-friendly, as also pocket-friendly, initiative.

IAS officer Rajat Bansal

PRESCRIBE GENERIC MEDICINES

A meeting of officials and doctors affiliated to the Indian Medical Association, and all private and government doctors was called by District Collector Rajat Bansal at the Panchayat Auditorium at BalodaBazar–Bhatapara, where he discussed and took assurance from all doctors that they will henceforth prescribe generic medicines to patients. 

Another purpose of the meeting was to give information regarding the availability of medicines available in Dhanwantri Generic Medical Store so that economically weak patients can also get the best medicines at affordable rates. Such patients will benefit if medicines prescribed to them are made available from the Shri Dhanvantari Generic Medical Store.

Speaking to Indian Masterminds, Mr. Bansal said, “Our aim is to give relief to the weaker sections. There is the Dhanwantri scheme, where all medicines are sold at 50-71% discount on the maximum retail price. But due to lack of prescription of generic medicines, people could not benefit from it. That is why, I started this initiative and am trying to create awareness about generic medicines.”

DHANWATRI SCHEME

The Shri Dhanwantri Generic Medical Store provides low-cost generic medicines and enables seamless healthcare services to the vulnerable people of the state. The scheme is implemented by the Urban Administration and Development Department (UADD). Under the scheme, around 188 medical shops are planned to be opened in 169 cities. In these generic medical stores, medicines will be sold at a discounted price. All the medicines will be sold at 50-71% discount on the maximum retail price. Currently, 84 such generic medical shops are open.

IMA APPROVAL

In the meeting convened by the DC, the office bearers and members of Indian Medical Association (IMA) were informed about the medicines of 30 companies available in the Shri Dhanwantri Medical Store. The IMA members were also informed about the location of the store. They were also given suggestions on what should be done for popularization of generic medicines. The IMA representatives agreed to the suggestion for prescribing generic medicines.

REGULAR CHECKS

Mr. Bansal told Indian Masterminds that a joint committee of the Deputy Collector and the Chief Health Medical Officer (CHMO) was formed to check frequently whether the private doctors are prescribing generic medicines or not. If a doctor or private clinic is found to be not doing so, they will be called again to a meeting and further action will be taken. The IMA district unit will also be included in this committee soon. The committee will also work towards creating awareness towards generic medicines.

THE NEED FOR AWARENESS

On the need for creating awareness, Mr. Bansal said that they need to do it as people hesitate to buy generic medicines as they think it might not be that effective since it comes so cheap. Also, majority of the people in fact don’t know much about generic medicines. Hence, the committee decided to create awareness and assure people that generic medicines are as safe and effective as the brand ones.

WHY GENERIC MEDS NOT PRESCRIBED

As to why some doctors do not prescribe generic medicines, we came to know that there’s a nexus between medical stores and private clinics. Big companies are also involved in this with their medical representatives (MRs). Those doctors write the medicines which the MRs suggest to them. Also, in the case of Chhattisgarh, there was no such facility for generic medicines earlier where people could get discount. But now, since last year, exclusive medical stores for generic medicines are available in the state.

WHAT EXACTLY IS GENERIC MEDICINE

A generic drug is a medication created to be the same as an existing approved brand name drug in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, and performance characteristics. So this is the medicines that is developed to be the same as a medicine that has already been authorised. But, it is way cheaper in comparison to the branded ones.


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