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Is benicar (olmesartan medoxomil) available in India?

Q: I have high blood presure. The doctor prescribed Benicar 20 mg (olmesartan medoxomil). It is very expencive. Is this medicine available in india?

A:Benicar is not the name of the medicine but a brand name. The name of the medicine is olmesartan. It belongs to a group of medicines called Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBS). Other members of the same group are: losartan, candesartan, irbesartan, telmisartan and valsartan (all ending with the words sartan). These molecules have identical mode of action and are interchangeable. Losartan is the oldest member, most tried-and-tested and hence widely used. It is sold in India under different brand names such as Losacar (losartan potassium; it is not hcl.). Its usual dose is 50 mg once daily. The cost of 10 tablets of Losacar 50 mg is Rs. 50 (just over US$ 1) plus local taxes. On the other hand the cost of equivalent dose of valsartan 80mg is Rs. 574 for 14 tablets. Clinically there is no good reason to use expensive sartan over economical sartan. Manufacturers hold patents and charge their own price for their own sartan. Similarly Norvasac is the brand name of a drug called amlopidine. The cost of 10 tablets of amlodipine 10mg for Amlodac brand in India is just over Rs. 14 (US 30 cents!). You are also taking Synthroid which is again a brand name. It contains l-thyroxine. In India 100 tablets of Eltroxin (GlaxoSmithKline) 100mcg are priced at Rs. 54 (US$ 1.10). It is economical to buy medicines in India.

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