In India, annually an estimated 32 million to 94 million people (Goyanka R, Garg C Charu, Prasad S. – report submitted for publication) get pushed below the poverty line because of expenditure on medical care. About two-thirds of this expenditure is on medicines, making it a major reason for poverty in India (National Health Systems Resource Centre’s estimates).

Generic medicines are cheaper than brand-name drugs, hence will substantially reduce the expenditure on health. The world has and is moving towards generic drugs. Let us take examples of two countries, US and Canada. In the US, generic and over-the-counter drugs account for about 80% of the sale. In 2009, the main suppliers of generic drugs (about 40%) in the US were India and China.

In Canada (2011 Canadian Medical Association Journal), generic drugs accounted for more than three quarters of all prescriptions, but accounted for only 20% of spending on pharmaceuticals.

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