Generic medicines can bring about a paradigm shift in treatment for stroke



Ahmedabad : Driven by an epidemiological transition over the last three decades coupled with a drastic change in one’s lifestyle, the incidence of NCDs and their associated risk factors is increasing in all parts of India, according to the National Family Health Survey-5. While this not just adds to the disease burden of lifestyle ailments in India but also adds to ever increasing household expenditures on medication. Stroke is no different. While the conversation and campaign around stroke is largely about a timely treatment within the ‘golden hour’, a rather untouched segment is the cost of treating patients post stroke.

Even this year’s theme of World Stroke Day 2022 is to raise public awareness of stroke signs and the importance of #PreciousTime. However, allied healthcare costs is an equally important factor which needs to be addressed here, especially in times of a stinging inflation.

Generic medicines have a huge role to play here as they can bring about a paradigm shift in the economic burden of the disease on families.

Estimates by Medkart, an omni-channel retailer of generic medicines, suggests that the cost of post-stroke treatment will reduce to about one-tenth of the cost if the patient shifts from branded medicines to generics.

“On the occasion of World Stroke Day 2022, Medkart’s message is to mitigate the financial crisis, a healthcare crisis can lead to. Surviving a stroke is a large part but easier today compared to earlier times, but the cost of medication goes up drastically post stroke atleast for a year. Therefore, measures should be taken to create awareness not just for timely treatment of stroke but also for access to affordable means of treatment. Medkart has been changing the lives of people by reducing their healthcare costs, one generic at a time over the past eight years.” said Ankur Agarwal, co-founder, Medkart.

The incidence of stroke post covid has multiplied. Even though the exact numbers are not in public domain, the rise is significant. In the last one year, Medkart’s data alone suggests that sales of drugs used to treat patients post stroke has increased 1.5x. This is especially true during the post Covid-19 second wave.

Key drugs used commonly for stroke treatment include Atorvastatin, Rosuvastatin, Ticagrelor and Clopidogrel. The price of the branded alternative is Rs 24 for a single Atorvastatin tablet whereas the generic costs Rs 2.5 per tablet. Similarly, Rosuvastatin tablet costs reduce from Rs 38 to Rs 3.6 per tablet when shifting from branded to generics. Same is the case of Ticagrelor (Rs 32 to Rs 14.4 per tablet) and Clopidogrel (Rs 7.8 to Rs 1.9 per tablet).

“This clearly suggests the much-needed reduction in healthcare costs that can be brought about through generic medicines. In fact, we widely advocate that not just for stroke but for a slew of other lifestyle diseases, consistent awareness campaigns should be undertaken to ensure that people have access to affordable treatment through generics. This can encourage more people to get diagnosed at an early stage and reduce the risk of hospitalisation,” Agarwal further added.