Free generic drugs via public hospitals; Three fold increase in the allocation to health sector in the 12th Plan

The allotment for the health sector during the 12th Plan had been enhanced three times over the previous Plan allocation to handle complex challenges.
The outlay in the 12th Plan had been fixed at Rs. 3-lakh crore, which was 1.95 % of the GDP. During the last Plan period, the sector had got Rs. 89,265 crore.
Free generic drugs would be provided through public hospitals to help “reduce out-of-pocket expenditure of the poor” on health.
The plan will emphasize on nutrition, safe drinking water, sanitation, housing and education, particularly education of the girl child, as they were increasingly being underlined as social determinants of health.
What is a Generic Drug?
As per the definition from WHO (World Health Organization):

  • A generic drug is a pharmaceutical product, usually intended to be interchangeable with an innovator product, that is manufactured without a licence from the innovator company and marketed after the expiry date of the patent or other exclusive rights.
  • Non-Proprietary: Generic drugs are marketed under a non-proprietary or approved name rather than a proprietary or brand name.
  • Cheaper but as effective: Generic drugs are frequently as effective as, but much cheaper than, brand-name drugs. For example, paracetamol is a chemical ingredient found in a number of brand-name painkillers, but is also sold as a generic drug (not under a brand name).
  • Even the poorest in country can access: Because of their low price, generic drugs are often the only medicines that the poorest can access.
  • The TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement does not prevent governments from requiring accurate labelling or allowing generic substitution. Indeed, it is argued that competition b/w drug companies and generic producers has been more effective than negotiations with drug companies in reducing the cost of drugs, in particular those used to treat HIV/AIDS.

A brand name is a name given to a drug by the manufacturer. The use of the name is reserved exclusively for its owner.
What is then a Counterfeit drug/medicine ?

  • A Counterfeit medicine is medicine that is deliberately and fraudulently mislabelled with respect to identity and/or source. Counterfeiting can apply to both branded and generic products.
  • Counterfeit products may include products with the correct ingredients or the wrong ingredients, lacking active ingredients, with incorrect quantities of active ingredients, or fake packaging.

When can a Generic Drug be produced ?
A generic drug can be produced when a pharmaceutical company first markets a drug, it is usually under a patent that, until it expires, allows only the pharmaceutical company that developed the drug (or its licensees) to sell it. Generic drugs can be produced without patent infringement for drugs where:

  1. the patent has expired, or
  2. the generic company certifies the brand company’s patents are either invalid, unenforceable or will not be infringed, or
  3. for drugs which have never held patents, or
  4. in countries where the drug does not have current patent protection.

Lifetime of a patent varies from country to country; but usually an expired patent can’t be renewed.



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