Generic drugs not inferior to branded products – KotraPharma (By Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis)


In what had turned to an age-old myth, KotraPharma, Malaysia Pharmaceutical Company of the Year (2012) has demystified the claim that generic drugs are inferior to their branded counterparts.

While addressing a gathering of pharmacists, doctors and other health care practitioners during the Infectious Diseases Forum organised by Dortemag Ventures at Elomax Hotel, Maryland, Lagos, on June 19, PohHuat Tan, KotraPharma’shead of operations, said people should not get carried away with the myth.

In attendance were Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Lolu Ojo, national chairman, Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (AIPN); Pharm Adeshina Opanubi, coordinator of PHARMALLIANCE; Dr. Pharm. Seye Agboola, chairman of Dortemag Ventures and Dr Sunday Ogundele, clinical pharmacologist (LASUTH), among others.

Speaking on the theme “Importance of Bioequivalence for Anti-Biotic Medications,”Huat Tan praised the courage of Nigerian doctors, who he said had to struggle through the rigour of striking the balance between quality drugs and economic implication.

“Generic drugs are completely safe. Don’t be deceived by that age-old myth that they are inferior. Some even allude that generics are produced in sub-standard facilities or that it usually take longer hours to produce results. All these are not true,” he said.

According to Kotra’s head of operations, developed countries like United Kingdom, Germany et al tend to expend about 60 per cent on generics, ahead of brands abroad.

With the aid of a chart, he showed how other nations like United States and Malaysia also spent 50 per cent and 40 per cent respectively on generic drugs in 2011.

“Therefore I think we need to change the perception we have concerning the efficiency of generics, especially here in Nigeria. One thing I can assure you is that the GMP manufacturing process and quality control are valid, hence Nigerian doctors shouldn’t have problems prescribing quality generic anti-biotic,” he canvassed.

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In a related development, Dr. Ogundele cautioned doctors in the country to consider host factors like age, organ failure, pregnancy and allergy before deciding to use antimicrobials such as Vaxcel’s Cefuroxime antibiotics.

In his view, there is the need to be rational with antimicrobials, to avoid development of resistant organism, increased rate of risk of super infection, potential drug-drug interaction, risk of toxicity and increased cost of treatment.

Applauding the forum, Pharm. Akintayo congratulated the management of Dortemag Ventures and KotraPharma on what he termed “another laudable initiative.”

“From knowledge of medicine, I can confidently say Cefuroxime antibiotic is great. Besides, most products from Malaysia are usually chemical-competent. I am not surprised about the success story of Dortemag Ventures. My relationship with Seye (the chairman) has spanned about 30 years. He is a humble fellow, who doesn’t like flaunting his achievements,” he enthused.