Srinagar: Doctors working in government hospitals and dispensaries have been ordered to prescribe medicines by their generic names instead of their brand names. A circular issued by the health department also directed doctors to ensure that prescriptions are officially attested with the prescribing doctor’s seal, mentioning his or her name and registration number.
Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, Pawan Kotwal told Kashmir Reader that all doctors have been directed to make sure that medicines are prescribed only by their generic names, not their brand ones, at all government-run health institutions.
“We have issued a circular among all the heads of department to spread this important directive for the rational prescription and use of drugs in government hospitals,” he said.
“We recently held a series of meetings with health officials of various districts about the mode of drugs procurement and dispensation at government hospitals. All registered doctors have been directed to comply strictly with the order to prescribe low-cost generic medicines, so that the financial burden is reduced on poor people,” he said.
Kotwal said that all prescriptions should have the official seal of the doctor treating the patient.
“The circular in this regard has already been issued to all hospitals and medical colleges to ensure compliance with the directive,” Kotwal said.
He said that the health department would also start to audit prescriptions in every hospital, so that treatment plans and drug dispensation were streamlined.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has also reiterated its earlier directive asking doctors to prescribe generic drugs, failing which strict disciplinary action will be taken.
It has asked the medical community to follow its 2016 notification in which the MCI had amended Clause 1.5 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, mandating doctors to prescribe medicines only by their generic names.
The order will bring relief to poor patients who have to invest large sums in purchasing drugs for different ailments.
Generic drugs are cheaper as their manufacturers do not spend on repeated clinical trials to prove their safety and efficacy. They also desist from extensive advertisement campaigns.
The compounds in the generic versions of medicines have the same molecular structure as their brand-name versions. Their quality is essentially the same since the generic drug has the same “active ingredient” as the brand-name alternative. This ingredient is the one that cures the patient while “inert ingredients”, which give the drug its colour, shape or taste, vary from the brand-name drug to the generics.