Monday, May 14, 2007

Generics... The Real Deal?

Attended a discussion group (as we all have to in the annual quest for CPD points) and the topic came up about generics. The good, the bad and the simply ineffective...

An article published in Clinical Drug Investigations was very interesting. It showed that even though generic companies claim to have the exact same drug, only cheaper - this is not entirely true.

The study showed that many of the generics companies were producing inferior products with many impurities, differing concentrations of the actual compound drug and differnt bio-availabilities.

Does that therefore taint the broad spectrum of "generic" medicine? After much discussion, we believed not. Most of us were of the opinion that some generic companies are good - they control the amount of impurities and produce good quality medicine.

In South Africa, there's a lack of study or legislation enforcing clinical trials on generics, so most of the time GP's have to go on experience. I have my own list of generic companies that I will use without reservation - and then there are those that I would avoid like the plague. I wouldn't even use them to treat the plague.

Moral of the story? In South Africa I think generics need to be scripted, not substituted. As in, if the Doctor PRESCRIBES the generic by name - fine. If a pharmacist substitutes a generic because of price, stock problems or personal preference - not fine.

6 comments:

Louisa said...

I agree 100%
Some generics just don't get the job done - others have some pretty interesting side effects.

Lala said...

What would you think about generics brought in from India? Have you found them bad?

Andy Hadfield said...

India? don't we bring in from all over the world? Hmmm... must ask SADOC.

SA Doc said...

We don't use many everyday generics from india...in fact i can't think of any off the top of my head. Our Generics are mainly locally produced.

The place that indian generics have in our country's health field is in ARV's (antiretrovirals for HIV/AIDS). There are big negotiations to import Truvada and Viread generics as they are cheaper than the locally produced ARV's. Whether they are as effective... I guess time and CD4 counts will tell...

Coral said...

I used to work for the biggest producer of generics in SA - some just don't do the job!

Andy said...

isn't this all a little odd considering the marketing behind generics punts them as being "exactly the same thing" - something going wrong with the reverse engineering chaps then?