GENERIC AWARENESS MONTH
THE celebration of Generic Awareness Month started last Friday with the aim to promote generic drugs.
During the Kapihan sa PIA session yesterday, Dr. Irene Florentino Fajeñas, the Pharmaceutical Division head of the Department of Health (DOH), said they are conducting information drives to educate the public about the generic drugs as part of the celebration.
Dr. Fajeñas said that even with the passage of the Republic Act 6675, or the Generics Act of 1988, 29 years ago, the Filipino people are still hesitant to buy generic drugs because of their “brand mentality.”
“People tend to doubt the quality of an item when it’s not branded. They also assume that if the medicines are cheaper, these are not of good quality,” she said.
Dr. Fajeñas explained that generic drugs are cheap not because they are of low quality, but because the manufacturers did not invest a lot of money on the research, development, marketing and promotion of the medicines.
“Manufacturers of branded medicines invested a lot of money on the research and development of the formulation of the medicine, and in its promotion and marketing. Generic medicines are cheaper because they only copied the formulation of the branded medicines,” she said.
Fajeñas assured though that generic medicines are still safe and effective.
“Ang generics safe siya and low cost and quality and effective,” she said.
However, Dr. Fajeñas said that people are now starting to accept generic medicines as substitute for branded ones.
In the Generics Act of 1988, government physicians are penalized if they prescribe branded medicines to the patients, and pharmacists should provide an option to buyers prescribed with branded medicine to buy a generic brand.
Dr. Fajeñas requested the private and government physicians to promote the generic drugs for the benefit of the patients.
“We call on the physicians to continue prescribing generic medicines. If there are drug companies that offer incentives, disregard them because it is the patient who will suffer from the high cost of medicine,” she said.