Last week I sat at an event with Lab & Allied, where I learnt a few interesting tidbits about the pharmaceutical industry that I did not know. Here are a few:
Anti-Retroviral drugs are mostly distributed free of charge by WHO and individual governments and it therefore does not make business sense for private companies to produce this line. There is a very small market for private patients for HIV management drugs and the requirements by WHO and Global Fund are so stringent and getting to successfully tick off all of them is just not worth it for a drug manufacturer.
On abuse of prescription drugs
There are over 4,500 pharmacists in the country and about 45,000 kiosks and supermarkets all dispensing drugs, be their prescription or not. It would be a logistical nightmare for pharmaceutical manufacturers to try and regulate all these outlets to make sure that they do not sell prescription drugs OTC.
On why India is doing so much better than Kenya in drug production
First of all India has a very high population and therefore a large domestic market for their own medications. Second, there is a high level of skilled manpower and a lot of Government support for the industry. Cost of production in India is much lower than Kenya’s. Also, before India became a signatory to WTO, Study the processes of originals drugs,
On generic drugs vs original formulas
It is a myth that generics are not as equal to the job as original drugs and as such, the fact that generic drugs can be upto 80% cheaper than the original does not mean it is inferior for treatment of diseases. There are rampant concerns that switching from original to generic drugs can bring about complications and/or resistance but that is not true. Generics must pass all necessary drug tests and must have the same active ingredients, administration method, dosage and strength as the original.