Generic drugs not overpriced, says Ramdas

Medical Education Minister S A Ramdas on Tuesday rubbished allegations that the government was supplying generic medicine at higher prices or for profit.

Dismissing the charges levelled against him on Monday by BJP legislator Sarvabhouma Bagali, the minister assured the Assembly that generic drugs were not being sold at higher rates as claimed by the MLA. He said he would step down if the allegations were proved.

The minister said the Janata Bazaar store where Bagali had purchased medicine — as a test — was not selling generic drugs. He also claimed the drug mafia was conducting a false propaganda against generic drugs to protect their monopoly.

Ramdas said there was no need to worry about the quality of the drugs as the government was purchasing them from four certified pharmas.

Ramdas said Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had lauded the scheme and told the State government that his ministry would take up efforts to set up generic drug stores across the country.

According to Ramdas, actor Aamir Khan had also shown a keen interest in the concept and said that Khan was expected to visit the State to study the programme after his Geneva tour.

Congress legislator T B Jayachandra said the concept was novel and confirmed that the Public Accounts Committee, which he had been a part of, had met Azad who had recommended the setting up of generic drug stores.

But Jayachandra said the programme could succeed only after an awareness campaign was conducted among people. He said a House Committee should be formed to verify claims made by both Ramdas and Bagali.

Bagali had claimed that the drugs he had purchased were indeed generic drugs sold at much higher rates than prescribed.

Speaker K G Bopaiah, who intervened in the debate, said he would examine the matter himself. “I’ll compare the documents furnished by both parties and give my ruling. I’ll also contact the Drugs Controller if need be,” he said.

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