Garlic is one of the most prolific plant medicines discovered thousands of years ago by various ancient civilizations, starting with Mesopotamia and Egypt; being the earliest proponents of agricultural activities. The nomadic tribes had later spread knowledge about the use of garlic as medicine, across different lands and other early civilizations like China, India and MesoAmerica. That is why garlic is a typical traditional plant medicine in different parts of the world.
Leading Producers of Traditional Plant-Based Medicines
Today, China and India are the frontrunners in the production of traditional (plant-based) medicines; followed by the US and Brazil. Garlic though is still a common ingredient used in modern medicines as its properties help in the treatment of chronic diseases like common colds. hypertension and even serious health disorders such as coronary artery disease (CAD) or atherosclerosis and even pancreatic or colorectal cancer.
Large scale studies about garlic, published by the four aforementioned countries show garlic can also boost the immune system, which helps in the elimination of free radicals that form cancerous growths or tumors. Other related studies gave proof that garlic properties are also effective as ingredients of antifungal and antiseptic medicines.
Although India is currently the country that leads in the manufacture of generic drugs, the reputation should not be confused with its ranking as the third largest producer of traditional plant-based medicines.
Distinguishing Between Generic and Traditional Medicines
Generic medicines have the same formulations as branded proprietary drugs, but whose patent or right to use a brand name has expired. This denotes that unlike traditional medicines that have been purely formulated with organic plant-based ingredients. Generic drugs contain components that were chemically synthesized to allow for the drug’s mass production at reduced costs.
Generic medications are cheaper than branded pharma medicines and branded plant-based medications and supplements. Rather than renew the expired patent to sell the product under the proprietary brand name, the manufacturer applies for FDA approval by submitting a so-called “abbreviated new drug application.” The FDA simply makes a review of the generic drug’s effectiveness and efficiency based on the original laboratory documents previously submitted in the patent application. That being the case, the production costs of generic medicines are lower, which can save consumers as much as 30 to 80% of the price by which the branded versions were sold.
Still, India issued a mandate ordering physicians and healthcare providers to prescribe only generic medicines in order to keep the prices of medicines affordable to all Indians throughout the country. However, many Indian households in rural areas prefer to use traditional medicines over generic brands, thinking that they are inferior versions of the branded medicines.
In order to correct the misconceptions about generic medicines, policy makers in India instituted a pharma franchise system in the distribution and sale of generic medicines. Instead of direct deals between retail sellers of generic meds and drug manufacturers, contracts are arranged and managed by a private pharma franchise company. Here, owners of generic drugstores enter a contract that gives them right to monopolize the sale of specific generic products in a designated region or location.