Every medicine has a replacement, with the same content and formula but the price may vary. Whenever, I see a doctor prescribing me expensive medicine I ask him if he could recommend a cheaper version as this is out of my reach, being a salaried person. All over the world affordable medicine are used but in Pakistan costly medicines are used depriving many patients and the poor masses from being able to buy medication.
In a developing country with meager finances this action seems strange. A patient of mine who is a well placed businessman from Islamabad underwent a complex cardiac operation of his son at a top cardiac facility. The operation was performed successfully and when the businessman sought his own cardiac checkup from a top cardiologist in that country, the doctor who himself was a rich doctor was shocked at the prescription.
He asked the patient why he was using expensive foreign brand of amlodopine which was costing more than the local brand. It may not matter to the patient, but the extra profit could be taken away from the country by the multinational companies in the form of foreign exchange and the native country’s economy suffers. The patient observed that in their hospitals local brands and essential drugs were being used which were available everywhere unlike Pakistan and also at a very low price.
Drugs like anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetes and many others are evaluated easily in a short time even by the patient by measuring the outcomes of their actions like BP, glucose, lipid levels without involving any complex procedures. I may mention that a very well known surgeon and philanthropist, who is also a chairman of charity foundation at Islamabad is using the cost effective amlodopine costing 1/10 of the multinational brand for the last thirty years is raking in a lot of money.
I may further mention that the National Health Service in the UK is using generic drugs .Unfortunately we are our own worst enemies! It is high time we changed our attitude and helped in saving precarious economy and the country. Without economic independence there cannot be political independence.
DR MAHMUD AHMAD AKHTAR,
Rawalpindi, November 4.