Only two out of five consumers are offered generic medicines in drug stores, the Department of Health revealed on Wednesday.
“There is increasing market share of generic medicines. 83.33% of doctors comply with the Generics Law, but [there is] low rate of generics substitution (only two out of five are offered generic medicines in drug stores),” Dr. Irene Florentino-Fariñas, Policy, Program Development, and Research Unit Head of the DOH Pharmaceutical Division, said in commemoration of the Generics Month.
Fariñas said that such a situation could be possible due to doctors who only prescribe branded medicines available in the pharmacies which they also own and doctors who are under contract with certain pharmaceutical companies.
“Ito po iyong sa far-flung areas na iyong doctors, sila rin po ang may-ari ng pharmacies. Possible rin po na may doctors na contracted by several companies na iyong product nila ang dapat bilhin,” she said.
Fariñas said that such practice is illegal and those liable will face sanctions.
“May sanctions po ito. Sa first offense, reprimand. Sa repeat offense, may fine. Sa third violation po, revocation of license,” she said.
“Actually, marami na pong nasampolan na doctors na nagsusulat ng particular brand [of medicine]. Sinusumbong po sa amin ng pharmacies, pasyente, at mga matitinong doktor, she added.
Patients, Fariñas said, are entitled to be informed of options on generic medicines under the law.
“Hindi po puwedeng walang generic substitution. The patient should be empowered, informed about generics medicines,” Fariñas said.