I received an email today from a lady in India who had recently travelled there to buy generic Harvoni. She had ordered and paid for a 12 weeks supply from a local pharmacy and was waiting for delivery because these meds are not carried in stock by pharmacies in India so they had to be shipped down from Mumbai.
While she was waiting she started to worry.
HOW would she know these were the right medicines and not fakes?
So she wrote to me for advice, which I am always happy to give.
My reply was that there are almost no fake Hep C generics in India. In the 20 months that I have been working with people using Indian generic Hep C medicines I have not come across even one single instance of someone in India buying fake meds.
Fake Hep C meds do exist but I have only come across them in other places, never India. Generally if someone is going to make a counterfiet drug they will make the branded version not the generic version. Why go to all the trouble of making fake lables and fake tablets of a generic drug? If someone is going to go to all that trouble then they will make fake Harvoni or fake Epclusa.
Just like if someone is going to make fake sunglasses they will make fake Raybans and not a fake version of some cheap brand you can already buy at the supermarket for $20.
The reason for this is that the real generics are so cheap anyway in India and no reputable dealer would risk their reputation by supplying fakes.
So that is good news.
The next issue that arose from this lady’s email was price.
She told me that she had paid US$375 per bottle for generic Harvoni.
This price is way too high. For example the normal price generic Harvoni to be shipped from India to the USA, including shipping and various other costs, is generally not more than US$1,100 for 3 bottles (12 weeks treatment). Indeed the price is more often closer to US$1,000.
SO she has paid too much. Not a huge amount too much, the real price when buying generic medicines in India for 12 weeks treatment of Sof+_Dac or generic Harvoni should not be more than US$800 and prices around US$700 would be normal.
THE other issue is that whilst one does NOT need a prescription to buy these meds in India it is a very very good idea to get a prescription if you are returning home to where ever you are from carrying a treatment of prescription drugs.
A prescription from a reputable doctor in India will not cost more than $20.
INTERNATIONAL conventions allow a person to carry up to 12 weeks supply of prescription medicines across international borders however many countries will require you to have the prescription to prove that the medicines belong to you.
SO travelling to India to buy meds is a great idea and for people in a lot of places, such as Europe, it is a cheap option, particularly if you include a holiday or getting some dental work done. Indian densits are generally excellent.
But do your homework first.
I am always available to give free advice.