Fri, 25 Feb 2000

Make generic drugs available

Living as an expatriate physician in Jakarta, I had the following experience:

Recently in a well-known dispensary I stood beside a customer who needed a special medicine. From the clothes he wore one could tell that he was not wealthy. As for the medicine he needed, he was given the most expensive one.

Being a physician myself I knew that the same medicine produced by another world-famous company is much less expensive. But the dispensary did not have these less expensive medicines in stock.

I would like to forward the following questions:

* Why in this time of economic crisis does the dispensary not offer also generic brand medicines of good quality and lower priced, as listed in the MIMS?

* Why do the doctors not prescribe less expensive medicine (of the same good quality) for people hit by the economic crisis?

* Do doctors and dispensaries not feel an obligation to provide poorer people with medicine they can afford? Or is the health sector here just business and an opportunity to get rich without responsibility for the whole population?

* How is it possible that in Europe, where the wages are much higher (so running a dispensary is more expensive), many medications are less expensive than in Indonesia?

I think it is a task for the Ministry of Health to take care of.