Medical Council of India (MCI) has made it mandatory for all doctors and medical practitioners to prescribe medicines written in CAPITAL letters along with the generic name as numerous drugs in the market vary in price structure and commission to doctors and retailers.
The move, though one of the MCI guidelines, which means the doctors cannot be penalised or taken to the court for violation of this MCI guideline, making it beneficiary to those who know the new rule, while the poor and illiterates will remain at the mercy of the doctors and medical shop owners as usual.
The new MCI guideline will also make it madatory to write the generic name, which is revolutionary and was brouhgt out several times in to limelight, including one of the episodes of Aamir Khan’s “Satyameva jayate”.
Once the generic name is the same, the patients can ask the retailers or medical shop salesmen to give the least priced brand and it helps the poor and senior citizens who can’t afford the inflated prices of some well-known top branded medicines. The variation could be 10 5 to 500%, according to a revelation made in Satyameva Jayate show.
With a gazette to be notified soon by the Health Ministry, “the prescription should be legible and preferably written in capital letters along with the names of the generic drug prescribed,” said an official.
Since many doctors do not use computers or feign computer illiteracy, the new MCI regulation should come as a welcoming decision as it takes into consideration a long-pending demand from the NGOs which are vouching for transparency in the medical field of India.
Even to this day, many doctors do not even give a prescription in their letter head with their registration number, leave alone giving the generic name. Except those in the medical field or biology stream, no one knows what rules or guidelines MCI gives and how many of them are followed.
For instance, the MCI acto of 2002 clearly states the ethical guidelines for doctors, which a coomon man may not be aware of. For instance, para 1.3 on Maintenance of medical records states that “Every physician shall maintain the medical records pertaining to his / her indoor patients for a period of 3 years from the date of commencement of the treatment in a standard proforma laid down by the Medical Council of India and attached as Appendix 3.”
The next para says, “If any request is made for medical records either by the patients / authorised attendant or legal authorities involved, the same may be duly acknowledged and documents shall be issued within the period of 72 hours.”
Barring big-time hospitals, no doctor who practises at home or in a corner-side clinic maintains any such records. Since this is again not enforceable by the MCI, many doctors escape resposnsibility. So is the case of CAPS in prescriptions. It cannot be enforced, nor any doctor violating it is liable for penalty or punishment.
“The central government has approved to amend Indian Medical Council Regulations, 2002, providing therein that every physician should prescribe drugs with generic names in legible and capital latter and he/she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs,” assured Health Minister J.P. Nadda in parliament last year.
K.K. Aggarwal of Indian Medical Association (IMA) has pointed out that in many cases one drug has about 10 brands and similarly worded Latin names lead to confusion among the doctors too. Even in the US, about 100,000 prescription errors are detected each year, he said.