Why the Price Dif­fer­ence?

Consumer Voice - - Feature -

When a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany for­mu­lates a new drug, it patents it be­fore bring­ing it to mar­ket. It is their right too, as they use their re­search and de­vel­op­ment re­sources to find a par­tic­u­lar for­mula for a medicine. Hence, the com­pany tries to re­cover its costs on the years of re­search through sales of the medicine, en­joy­ing ex­clu­siv­ity in the mar­ket un­til its patent ex­pires.

When the patent ex­pires, other drug com­pa­nies can start selling a generic ver­sion of the drug af­ter due ap­proval of the reg­u­la­tory au­thor­ity. Since generic drug­mak­ers do not de­velop a drug from scratch, the costs to bring the drug to mar­ket are less; there­fore, generic drugs are usu­ally less ex­pen­sive than branded or patented drugs. For ex­am­ple, one of the com­mon medicines across In­dian house­holds is Crocin. In fact, the brand Crocin it­self sounds like a medicine though it is a brand name. The generic form of Crocin is parac­eta­mol or ac­etaminophen. When Crocin’s patent ex­pired, its much cheaper yet equally ef­fec­tive gener­ics thronged the shelves of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal stores across the coun­try. From an af­ford­abil­ity per­spec­tive, avail­abil­ity of more gener­ics makes a dif­fer­ence to healthcare costs for con­sumers.

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