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From Monday 16th July 2012, the CPAM in the Pyrénées-Orientales will only reimburse patients who accept generic medicines if they are available. A law was passed in 2006 to allow the Caisse Primaire of each département to insist on the use of generics, where available, with the goal of having 85% of prescriptions generic. This clearly would significantly reduce the cost to the State of medicines and lighten a little the financial burden on the health system. Apparently in the P-O the level of generics (76.3% in 2011) prescribed has actually dropped to 71.1% by April 2012
causing the CPAM to at last introduce this law here.
To all intents and purposes, generic medicines have the same properties as the original. Proprietary medicines have a licence period during which they cannot be copied by other laboratories (this compensates for the costs of research) and once that period has expired others can produce the same product. Of course, a prescription can be marked by your doctor as "NS" or non-substituable where it is necessary for the proprietary medicine to be used. An example would be where the original is a powder and the generic is a tablet, making the original more suitable for some people.
I assume that other CPAMs across France are enforcing this too. I have no problem with accepting generics, anyone any thoughts.
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And about time too. Lots more legislation along these lines on the way - including the rights for pharmacies to negotiate prices for generics and more, according to Figaro reports and others. Certainly the system needs a good stirring up. One of my anti-vomiting drugs was unavailable one month and was replaced by a generic and hey-presto - it was the same price as the named one I was prescribed. You have to wonder!