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A critical study on availability and price variation between different brands: Impact on access to medicines

Author(s): SC Das1, M Mandal2, SC Mandal3
1 Darjeeling District Drugs Control Office, Darjeeling-734 101, India 2 Department of Pharmacy, J. C. Ghosh Polytechnic, 7 Mayurbhanj Road, Kolkata-700 023, India 3 Fartabad, Amtola, PO, Garia, Kolkata-700 084, India

Correspondence Address:
M Mandal Department of Pharmacy, J. C. Ghosh Polytechnic, 7 Mayurbhanj Road, Kolkata-700 023 India E-mail: [email protected]

The present study aims to present a representative view of the existing situation of availability and price variation, by comparing data about brand availability, and difference in pricing between various brands of 20 drugs under six therapeutic categories. The project involved collecting data from 10 retail outlets from the city area, 10 outlets from town area and 15 retail outlets from the rural area spread over a time span of 6 months. The drug categories studied were analgesics, antibiotics, drugs acting on cardiovascular and central nervous system, drugs acting on gastrointestinal tract and steroids. Data analysis showed that as compared to data on national availability of different brands, the number of brands available in the town, city and rural segments in general, are less. In all sectors, town, city and rural areas, almost equal number of brands is found to be available, with a slightly higher availability in the cities. Price difference between different brands (single drug or drug combinations) varies up to an extent of 881% (in case of amlodipine) on the higher side, and the lowest being 7% (in case of doxycycline). Out of all brands studied, it was observed that the highest priced brand was the most sold brand in cases of 5 products (single drug/combinations), and the lowest priced brand was the most sold in case of 2 products. It emerged that prices of drug molecules including those under National Essential Drug List, increased during 1996-2004 to a certain extent. It was noted, that % increment of price of drugs under Drug Price Control Order was less than those of drugs not under the purview of Drug Price Control Order. The difference in price between various brands of the same drug is too wide.

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