The Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, DoH, will begin the preliminary stage of implementing the generic medicine mechanism starting 1st September, 2018.
The new mechanism aims to enhance the healthcare sector’s sustainability and ensure members of the community have continuous access to the highest quality of healthcare services.
Generic medicine is known to have the same dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, and performance characteristics as brand-name medicine. It works the same way and provides the same clinical benefits and outcomes that are bioequivalent to the brand-name counterparts.
As per the circular US/27/18, published on 23rd July, 2018, for regulating the dispensing of generic medicine, the DoH encourages healthcare facilities to start offering more generic medicine options to provide patients with better value for money. Under the new mechanism, the DoH has set a reference price for drug categories with an equivalent generic substitute, whereas reference prices have not been listed for drugs with no generic substitute. Patients who wish to claim medications with a higher value than those listed on the reference price list will be required to pay the difference in price.
Commenting on the announcement, Mohammed Al Hajj, Director of the Health System Financing Division at the DoH, said, "We have looked at the successful application of similar generic medicine policies in other countries worldwide. We worked alongside our strategic partners in both the public and private healthcare sector in Abu Dhabi to involve them in the development process and the gradual application of the mechanism to ensure the healthcare system is well aligned to further deliver exceptional care services in Abu Dhabi."
He added that many countries worldwide have successfully encouraged the use of generic medicine over brand-medicine. In Germany, for example, 80 percent of prescribed drugs are generic, whereas, in the UK, 78 percent of prescribed drugs are generic.
In turn, Dr. Khaled Al Jaberi, Director of the Healthcare Licencing and Medical Education Division at the DoH, explained, "The DoH monitors and regulates the medication options available in the market to ensure their effectiveness and quality. The DoH and the Ministry of Health and Prevention follow stringent drug licencing policies and procedures for generic medicine prior to launching them in the market.
"This ensures pharmaceutical companies adhere to the highest standards of manufacturing that follow standard dosages and contain active ingredients with the same medical usages and quality as brand medicines. At the same time, patients are welcome to provide their suggestions and complaints on available drugs that are deemed ineffective."