Norvasc is perhaps the most popular anti-hypertension medication in Pakistan. I've been using it now for 20 years, and a couple of years back I had to double the dosage (one in the morning and one tablet in the evening). As almost everyone else with a fixed income, I often used to wonder if cheaper alternatives were available. I did some research and was amazed to find that the pharmaceutical industry in the country is highly advanced and cheaper medicines for almost all illnesses are manufactured in the country.

When I started taking Norvasc 5 mg twenty years ago, it used to cost Rs. 11 per tablet. Even in those days I found it a bit expensive. In 2008, when I looked for it in the UK, I found that it cost six times as much and one needed a doctor's prescription to buy it. Today it costs about Rs. 15 per tablet. The nearest equivalent costs Rs. 11 per tablet. It is manufactured by a company called Wilson's in Islamabad. I've been taking Vitamin C tablets manufactured by this company for over two years now. 

But the most amazing thing is that there are several companies manufacturing the equivalent of Norvasc with exactly the same formula. The cheapest is worth Rs. 2.65 per tablet.

I thought of switching over to one of the cheaper alternatives, but I'm hesitant to do so. It's useless to ask my doctor, who thinks Memons have millions stashed away in secret bank accounts. I know that in India, Norvasc substitutes have been in use for many years. If inflation gets worse, I may have to do so myself.