TAG: GS 3: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
THE CONTEXT: The Union Health Ministry has made available generic drugs to support the care and treatment of four ailments: Tyrosinemia-Type 1, Gauchers Disease, Wilson’s Disease, and the Dravet-Lennox Gastaut Syndrome.
- The development of generic drugs to treat four rare diseases (Tyrosinemia-Type 1, Gaucher’s Disease, Wilson’s Disease, and the Dravet-Lennox Gastaut Syndrome) is a significant step toward addressing the healthcare needs of patients with rare diseases.
IMPACT ON PATIENTS:
- Cost Reduction:
- The availability of these indigenous generic drugs is expected to substantially reduce the cost of treatment for patients suffering from rare diseases.
- The reduction in drug prices by 60 to 100 times of their current market value will significantly ease the financial burden on patients and their families.
- Access to Treatment:
- Making these drugs available means greater accessibility to treatment for rare diseases, which otherwise might have been financially inaccessible to many due to high drug prices.
- Future Scope:
- The Health Ministry’s plans to expand this initiative to include drugs for more rare diseases such as Phenylketonuria and Hyperammonemia will further benefit patients.
- It will extend affordable treatment options to patients to a broader spectrum of rare conditions.
GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE AND COLLABORATION:
- Stakeholder Engagement:
- The initiative involved collaboration with various stakeholders, including academia, pharmaceutical industries, organizations, drug regulators, and the Department of Pharmaceuticals.
- This comprehensive engagement demonstrates a concerted effort to address the healthcare needs of those with rare diseases.
- Non-Commercial Venture:
- Emphasizing the non-commercial aspect of the initiative, Health Minister highlighted that this endeavor is primarily aimed at serving those in acute need, indicating a humanitarian approach to healthcare.
- Engagement with Pharmaceutical Companies:
- The government’s engagement with pharmaceutical companies, including discussions with companies selling patented rare disease drugs, showcases efforts to explore partnerships and potential solutions for patients who urgently need these medicines.
HEALTHCARE LANDSCAPE AND RARE DISEASES:
- Prevalence and Impact:
- Rare diseases collectively affect a small percentage of the population but pose significant challenges due to their low prevalence.
- In India, it’s estimated that there could be millions of cases, with 80% of these diseases being genetic.
- Sustainable Healthcare Measures:
- The initiative is deemed a more sustainable measure compared to existing schemes aimed at financially aiding patients.
- It represents a long-term solution to address the healthcare needs of patients with rare diseases.
- Company Participation:
- The involvement of several pharmaceutical companies, such as Biophore India, Laurus Labs, Azico Biophore, MSN Pharmaceuticals, and Akums Drugs and Pharmaceutical, demonstrates private sector participation and support for this initiative.
- The development and availability of generic drugs for rare diseases in India through government-led initiative signify a crucial step towards enhancing accessibility, affordability, and sustainability in treating patients with rare health conditions.
- This initiative’s success not only relies on cost reduction but also on collaborative efforts between the government, pharmaceutical companies, and various stakeholders to address healthcare disparities for those affected by rare diseases.
WHAT IS GENERIC MEDICINE?
- A generic drug is a medication that has exactly the same active ingredient as the brand name drug and yields the same therapeutic effect.
- It is the same in dosing, safety, strength, quality, the way it works, the way it is taken, and the way it should be used.
- They do not involve repetition of extensive clinical trials over the years, unlike brands that undergo extensive R&D procedure.