SC notice to Centre, states on generic drugs

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine the issue of non-availability of cheaper generic medicines and vaccines that was affecting the national health policy.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and V Gopala Gowda sought a response from the Centre on a PIL that the national health policy, introduced in 2002 for making use of generic drugs and vaccines, was not being implemented properly.

The bench sought the Centre’s response in four weeks and appointed senior advocate B H Mariapalle as an amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter. It, however, said it will not go into the market issue raised by the petitioner.

The PIL filed by advocate Reepak Kansal submitted that despite the national health policy for the use of generic drugs and vaccines, which fundamentally seeks to ensure the health security of the country, it was not implemented properly.

Apart from the Centre, the bench also issued notice to all state governments, Union Territories and Drugs Controller of India and sought their responses.

The PIL also raised the matter of medical practitioners prescribing medicines or drugs by the brand name instead of the generic one. It said the issue was of great importance as a majority of the population has no means to buy expensive branded drugs manufactured by big companies.

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