The government will write a new law to push doctors to prescribe generic medicines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday, a move that could deal a blow to big drug companies.
It wasn’t immediately clear if new proposals would make it mandatory for doctors to write only generic drugs.
Modi made the comments during the inauguration of a hospital in Surat, a known diamond hub which is also home to several top Indian generic drug makers.
Making medicines cheaper is a politically sensitive issue in India where many patented drugs are too costly for most people, and where patented drugs account for under 10% of total drug sales.
“Everyone should be able to get affordable healthcare. Every day I do something in Delhi that makes someone or the other angry with me.”
Global pharmaceutical firms have struggled to persuade India to stop more local companies producing up to a dozen new varieties of cheap generic drugs still on-patent.
India already has schemes that provide free, generic drugs to millions of its poor from state-run hospitals.