Golly, Big Pharma, This Emerging Markets Strategy Isn’t Looking So Easy, Is It?
Here is a move certain to warm the hearts of brand-name drug makers everywhere. The drug controller of India wants to prohibit medicines from being sold under brand names in a bid to accelerate the sale of lower-cost generics. In fact, states have been ordered to stop issuing licenses for the manufacture or sale of drugs under brand names, The Economic Times reports.
Under the plan, all drugmakers applying for a license to market or manufacture fixed dose combination drugs will have to submit the generic name and not the brand names. The move comes shortly after a parliamentary committee issued a report that also strongly opposed issuing licenses that use brand names, the paper writes.
“We want to gradually move towards a future where we will not issue any brand or trade names. We are going all out to push generic drugs solely for the benefit of the public,” Drugs Controller GN Singh tells the paper. “We have sent the order to all state health secretaries asking them to instruct their drug licencing issuing authority to issue licences only on generic names and not on branded or trade names, which is the usual practice now. A branded drug can be 10 times more expensive than a generic variant.”
Big Pharma companies – think Pfizer (PFE), Merck (MRK), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Novartis (NVS) – are trying to expand into less-developed countries to create some revenue growth. Expiring patents on blockbuster drugs, and a lack of new blockbusters, has sapped revenue growth in the industry.
The no-brands drive in India comes on the heels of a program announced earlier this year called “Free medicine for all through Public Health Facilities.” The campaign is expected to begin next month (see prior Pharma news).
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Ed Silverman is the editor of Pharmalot and a contributor to YCharts, which includes the just-released YCharts Pro Platinum for professional investors.