Pseudo-Generics in South Africa: A Price Comparison

Varsha Bangalee, Fatima Suleman
Value in Health Regional Issues 2019 July 26, 19: 87-91

BACKGROUND: The South African pharmaceutical market, like many other low- and middle-income countries, has long been synonymous with high medicine prices. In response to this, the government had instituted several policies to improve medicine pricing transparency and to lower medicine prices. Importantly among the new policies was the introduction of the single exit price mechanism and provisions for the increased uptake of generic medicines. Despite some early successes, the increasing presence of pseudo-generics in the South African pharmaceutical market appears to be hindering the process.

OBJECTIVE: This study sought to describe the price differentials among the originator, pseudo-generics, and true generics registered in South Africa in an effort to create consumer and prescriber awareness of this phenomenon.

METHODS: Private-sector medicine prices for the originator, pseudo-generics, and true generics were sourced from the South African Medicine Price Registry.

RESULTS: The study revealed that of most medicines with a true generic competitor (n = 10 of 14), the pseudo-generics were priced more than even the highest-priced generics.

CONCLUSION: The increasing presence of pseudo-generics in the South African pharma market warrants further oversight and consumer and prescriber awareness.

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