• Healthy alternatives

    Healthy alternatives

    Just more than a decade ago, very few generic versions of medicines for the treatment of life-threatening conditions were available in South Africa. Now, however, nearly 100 million prescriptions filled per annum are for generic medicines, with usage hitting a record high of 60%.

    These figures are based on the latest Mediscor Medicines Review, according to which the country’s highest generic medicine uptake is for HIV/Aids (93.3%), followed by oncology (88.5%) and non-prescribed minimum benefits chronic medication (82.4%) – for illnesses such as bipolar mood disorder and asthma.

    As reported by Africa Business Communities, generic uptake by provider type is highest for GPs at 89.8%, followed by courier pharmacies at 83.7%, other providers at 76% and retail pharmacies 74.5%.

    Erik Roos, CEO of generic medicines producer Pharma Dynamics, says that as the gap between original and generic medicines narrows, it will lead to a positive change in availability, access, affordability and use.

    ‘The sustainability of the healthcare system depends significantly on the availability of affordable medications,’ he adds. ‘Every 1% increase in generic usage is estimated to equate to a saving of ZAR270 million.’

    31 October 2017
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images