Directive to stop issuing licences to drug companies based on their brand names may be implemented

In an attempt to promote generic drugs in the capital and elsewhere, the Drug Control Administration (DCA) authorities are getting ready to implement a Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) directive to stop issuing licences to drug companies based on their brand names. Senior DCA authorities in Hyderabad said that they were waiting for an official communication from DCGI before they can start implementing it. The new DCGI directive has already come into force in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. The directive has the potential to stop the practice of brand promotion of drugs, which is rampant and carried out by medical representatives. Many also fear that strict enforcement of the latest rules could also trigger large scale retrenchments and impact the livelihood of medical representatives.

In fact, associations representing the interests of pharmaceutical companies and medical representatives in Hyderabad maintained that their respective leaders in New Delhi are in talks with DCGI and Union Government authorities seeking relief from such a directive. The DCGI directive states that the DCA will not issue manufacturing licence to drug companies based on their brand names. The pharmaceutical companies who apply for license will have to submit the generic name of the drug and not as brands for manufacturing license. Senior DCA officials here are, however, confident of implementing the directive as the Union Government’s objective is to promote and make available the cheaper generic drugs. The government is making efforts to popularise generic drugs and directed its doctors to avoid recommending brand names of drugs in prescriptions.