Knives come out for generic pesticides
By Charles Abel
INFERIOR formulations in generic pesticide products are being "outed" in a bid to halt an influx of supposedly lower quality products into the UK.
Generic products – which are off-patent and manufactured by independent suppliers – currently account for 5% of UK agrochemical sales.
That compares with 12% in France and estimates suggest they could take a quarter of the market by the year 2000. Such growth could be boosted as the Control of Pesticide Regulations come to an end in 1996, says Nick Gilford, European fungicides manager for ISK Biosciences. That will give generic manufacturers easier access to the data needed for product approval.
Though growers may look forward to competition in product supply, there are dangers, warns ISK. "They are certainly a lot cheaper but they cannot be expected to give the same level of disease control," maintains Mr Gilford.
While focusing most comments on generic products sold in Europe and not the UK, ISK insists that no other chlorothalonil formulation matches its Bravo, which contains a combination of adjuvants that are patented and not available elsewhere.
The company has undertaken extensive tests (see story right) to show generic products are inferior and claims disease control could suffer as a result.
As well as educating growers about shortcomings in generic products, ISK hopes to work with the British Agrochemicals Association to change the registration process so that it indicates whether a generic product offers the same efficacy as one from an original supplier.
The company is also branding the Bravo formulation more strongly through the Weather Stik logo, which extols the products good rainfastness.
• Generic pesticides currently account for 5% of UK market.
• Expected to grow rapidly.
• Many contain less active ingredient, in an inferior form and poorly formulated, says ISK Biosciences.
• Consider product quality when looking at cost/benefit relationships, it urges.
Beware of generic pesticides – they may not be all they seem, warns ISKs Nick Gilford.