These medicine database are mostly applicable for users in India only.
Your doctor has prescribed a drug but that particular brand isn’t available in the medical store (or is too expensive). The store chemist, in this case, may look at the chemical composition of the drug and then suggest alternative medicines that have the same salts as the one mentioned in your prescription.
For instance, if the doctor has prescribed Crocin, a branded drug commonly used to treat fever and pain, the main salt in the drug is Paracetamol. The chemist may thus suggest another drug – branded or unbranded - that has similar amount of Paracetamol.
Unbranded (generic) medicines are generally more affordable and effective but some doctors may prefer prescribing branded (more expensive) drugs because of incentives from pharmaceutical companies.
A pediatric surgeon suggested a few online drug databases in India where one can research drugs, study their compositions and also learn about alternate brands. In some cases, the databases may also include the retail prices of drugs.
- MIMS.com - MIMS drug database is the most popular reference source among medical professionals in India. The site requires free registration but you may use a Google query like site:mims.com drugname and skip the site search feature.
- MedIndia.net - Here you can search drugs by their generic name or the brand name. Med India is not the most user-friendly site (ad-heavy) but it does help you compare the prices of various brands of drugs with the same generic drug.
- HealthKartPlus.com – This is another generic drug search engine that is also available as an app for Android and iOS devices. HealthKartPlus doesn’t confuse consumers with excess jargon - you will learn about the salts in the drug, substitutes offered by other brands and their respective prices.
- GetDavai.com - This is primarily for comparing drug prices with the same constituents but from different brands. You can enter the medicine name and GetDavai will quickly list branded equivalents and their prices. The website however includes no information about the developer or their source of drug data.
- MyDawaai.com - Another iOS and Android app that will help you quickly find equivalent brands of medicines along with their prices and generic names. Unlike other drug search engines, My Dawaai’s database also includes details of small drug manufacturers in India.
These sites will obviously help improve your overall knowledge of drugs but it is always advisable to consult your doctor before switching to a substitute.