– By Atul Sharma, Founder, HealthScape and HealthMEX

Government of India estimate that India pharmaceutical market is valued at ₹1.00 lakhs crores, only 9% of this is protected by patented drugs, remaining ~90% of the market is led by ‘Branded Generics’, which means ~90 thousand crores is a branded generic business
In a move to promote low-cost generic medicines, the government plans to colour code such drugs to enable consumers to differentiate between generic medicines and other drugs and take an informed decision while purchasing them from chemists. Ministry of Health has strengthened network of over 3000 ‘Jan Aushadhi Stores’ which will only sell generic medicines, this may have an adverse impact that pharmaceutical industry may shrink by 40-50% in next couple of years.
Recently ‘Drug Consultative Committee Meeting’ proposed colour code generic medicines, which could be similar to the codes used in food products to differentiate between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
Does this mean that cost of medicine is very high in India? Let me also update you on this that cost of any branded generic medicine is at least 20-70 times cheaper compared to their prices in any middle- or low-income countries in the world.
– This regulation may result into, pharmaceutical industry may become non-viable, thousands of mid and small-size will have to wind up their business, resulting to a million of people may lose their job.
– Let’s look at the impact on retail pharmacies, to let you understand that most of the margins are transferred to retailers in India, this makes business lucrative and viable to many people, hence we have pharmacies business sustainable across tiers and economies in the country, generic medicine business may result into non-viable business model and millions of small and middle size pharmacies may get closed.
On a face value price reduction through regulations look good, however access does not mean price only, but value for millions of people to make it available at all places to over billion people in the country, Your thoughts and comments…