Increased use of generics could save South Africa millions

INICIO/Informes | Posted 11/10/2013 post-comment0 Post your comment

Increasing the use of generics by 5% could save the healthcare industry and patients in South Africa in excess of Rand 400 million per year, according to a report from the country’s pharmaceutical association.


The National Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NAPM) reports on 2 October 2013 that South Africa still has significant scope for increasing its use of generics. While the country has a generic medicine alternative available for 70% of brand-name medicines with patents expired, only about 55% of generic medicines by volume are being regularly prescribed.

The private pharmaceutical market in South Africa is estimated to be approximately Rand 20 billion per year. While the average price of brand-name drugs is Rand 213 compared to the average price for generic medicines of only Rand 68. Switching to generics, which are on average three times cheaper than the equivalent brand-name drug could therefore result in savings of up to Rand 145 per item.

The use of generics in South Africa is on the increase. In 2012, use of generics increased by 11.7% to reach Rand 734 million.

The NAPM believes that the perception of generics as ‘cheap’ and ‘inferior’ by both healthcare professionals and patients is hindering the adoption of generics. This, the NAPM points out, is incorrect. No generic medicine may be sold in South Africa unless it receives approval from the Medicines Control Council (MCC). The MCC does not discriminate between originator and generic medicines when evaluating a drug and the strictest scientific principles are adhered to in the approval process. This process, according to the NAPM, is on a par with that used by the US FDA and the European Union’s European Medicines Agency.

The NAPM concludes that the only way to continue to provide for the increasing need for safe, affordable and effective medicines in South Africa is to use generics.

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Source: NAPM

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