USM, CAP say both generic and branded drugs comply with same standards

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Both generic and branded medicines in Malaysia comply with the same standardsand requirements of quality, efficacy and safety set by the Malaysia Drug Control Authority, the UniversitiSains Malaysia’s (USM) School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and consumer group Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) in Malaysia said as they refute the belief that generics are inferior to original drugs.

“Switching from an innovator to a generic product is where emotion comes into play and many stakeholders appear to have vested interests,” Prof Dr. Mohamed AzmiHassali, Wong Zhi Yen and Ashutosh Kumar Verma from USM, as well as CAP medical adviser Dr. T. Jayabalan, said in a joint statement.

“Innovator companies would like to minimise switching to maximise prescribing of their products, while manufacturers of generics would like to encourage higher rates of switching, and governments encourage generic substitution to drive down drug costs,” they added.

The four were responding to a report by a local daily quoting former Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr. Milton Lum as saying that generics sometimes do not work in cases of dialysis, high blood pressure, and arthritis. He had also said some patients are resistant to generic antibiotics.

USM and CAP claimed innovator companies have placed advertorials for anti-epileptics to warn patients about the “dangers” of switching for difficult medical conditions.

“Prescribers often influence the extent of switching or substitution to generic products. These can create uncertainty and suspicion in the minds of patients about the use of generics, which they may perceive to be inferior alternatives. This may partly explain why optimal switching or substitution targets have not been met,” they said.

“It is incumbent on doctors, pharmacists, innovator and generic companies, and government to provide objective advice on bioequivalence and brand substitution by generics.”

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