Tue, Mar 26, 2019 - Page 2 News List

FDA lauds generic drugs as two brands quit Taiwan

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Signage outside the offices of the National Health Insurance Administration Central Division is pictured in Taipei on Wednesday.

Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times

Facing concerns over two brand-name drugs being withdrawn from the Taiwanese market, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday said that more than 70 percent of the medications funded by the National Health Insurance (NHI) are generic drugs.

Foreign drugmakers have announced that the antidepressant Prozac would be withdrawn from the Taiwanese market and the Tienam 500mg injection, an antibiotic used in hospitals to treat complicated infections, would no longer be provided to non-contracted hospitals as of Monday.

The drugs’ removal has sparked criticism of the NHI’s drug expenditure target system, which adjusts drug prices on an annual basis, while some people expressed concern over the possible effects of changing their prescription drugs to generic drugs.

The foreign pharmaceutical companies made the decision to withdraw from the Taiwanese market in line with their interests, FDA Director-General Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) said.

Taiwan in 2003 became a member of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme and in 2008 became party to the International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use, Wu said.

The FDA practices full product lifecycle management for generic drugs produced in Taiwan, she said.

In 2017, drugs produced by more than 80 local drugmakers were sold to more than 70 countries, earning more than NT$10 billion (US$324.36 million at the current exchange rate) in exports, Wu said, adding that it shows that the generic drugs have earned international recognition.

“I am confident that the generic drugs in Taiwan have the same quality as the brand-name drugs,” she said.

The FDA urged people who suspect the quality of drugs to report them to its adverse drug reaction report hotline at (02) 2396-0100.

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