By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE Department of Health (DOH) and Food and the Drug Administration (FDA) in Region VI want consumers to become proactive in terms of choosing affordable medicines.
Generic medicine refers to medicines that have the same active pharmaceutical ingredient as the innovator medicines and are not covered by patent protection. These medicines are labeled by their international nonproprietary or generics name and may or may not have brand names.
According to FDA-6 Regional Supervisor Ma. Angeles Guzman, all medicines in the market have generic names.
“Gina-require nga tanan nga prescriptions kag bulong nga ara sa market may ara gid generic name terminology. It should appear sa boxes para ang aton nga pumuluyo they have their option kung ano masarangn nila,” Guzman said.
Generic medicines have the same active ingredient, dosage strength, and route of administration, with the branded medicine, according to DOH.
DOH-6 National Drug Policy Compliance Officer Rayellen Magallon emphasized that branded and generic medicines have the same quality and effectivity.
“Ang pinagkaiba nila is ang ila inactive ingredient, shape, color, and packaging pero when it comes to quality and effectivity same lang sila and hindi man siya makaepekto sa bulong,” Magallon said.
He added that the use of generic medicine would also generate a higher compliance rate and prevent anti-microbial resistance.
“Since barato ang generic medicine ara ang compliance rate kay barato lang which means ma-complete gid nila ang ila prescription and treatment. For example, ang sa antibiotics kung good for 7 days maubos nila gid kay affordable ang medicine compared sa branded nga kung mhal hindi nila maubos which can create anti-microbial resistance,” she added.
Based on the World Health Organization (WHO), antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in response to the use of antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections (such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, bloodstream infections) making them ineffective.
Meanwhile, Guzman reiterated that government physicians are prohibited from prescribing branded medicines.
“May ara kita guideline nga dapat ang government physicians hindi pwede kagamit sang branded nga bulong sa ila prescription biskan sa iya charts generics lang ang pwede ibutang,” she noted.
September is Generics Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Tatlong Dekada: Generics Abot Kamay, Abot Kaya.”
As part of its campaign, the DOH is conducting generics summit and caravan in which public are educated about generics magazine.
FDA also assured that the quality of medicines in the market are regularly monitored and checked.
“We under our agency conduct PMS (Post Marketing Surveillance) kag naga-inspect sa mga drug establishments nga licensed or either unlicensed to check their products if it is registered sa FDA and also ginatan-aw man namon ang mga prescription sang doctors kung gagamit sila generic name sang product. Dira namon makita nga may violations ang doctors,” Gladys Mae Sanchez of FDA said.
The Generics Act of 1988 (Republic Act No. 6675) mandates to promote, encourage and require the use of generic terminology in the importation, manufacture, distribution, marketing, advertising and promotion, prescription and dispensing of drugs.
The law also mandates to ensure the adequate supply of drugs with generic names at the lowest possible cost and endeavor to make them available for free to indigent patients and to emphasize the scientific basis for the use of drugs, in order that health professionals may become more aware and cognizant of their therapeutic effectiveness.
Under Sec. 6, all government health agencies and their personnel must use generic terminology or generic names in all transactions related to purchasing, prescribing, dispensing and administering of drugs and medicines.
Moreover, the law instructs all medical, dental and veterinary practitioners, including private practitioners, to write prescriptions using the generic name.