FDA Rule Effective From May, Medicos Say Process Will Be Cumbersome
The doctor’s prescription that in most cases only a chemist can understand, will now mandatorily have to be in legible handwriting, have complete details of the patient, the doctor and also the pharmacist who dispenses the drugs. The Food and Drugs Administration issued a revised prescription format about a fortnight ago that requires doctors to write the name of drugs in capital letters and use their generic names. The new format will come into effect in May.
Failure to understand prescriptions or illegible handwriting of doctors is considered a leading cause for medical errors. The FDA guidelines have been based on the Drug and Cosmetics Act and suggest a uniform format.
“The state government released the revised drug prescription format on February 28. During a meeting with various doctors’ associations in Pune, it was decided they would start prescribing drugs in the revised format. We also set a deadline of one-and-a-half months for its implementation,” state FDA commissioner Mahesh Zagade told TOI on Thursday.
Surgeon Maya Tulpule, president of the city chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), said the association has already started sensitising doctors about the revised prescription format. “By May, all doctors in Pune will start prescribing drugs as per the revised format,” she said.
Doctors agree that adherence to such rules will bring down complaints of adverse drug reactions. Internal medicine expert Abhijit Joshi said the revised prescription will help bring in uniformity and prevent any confusion due to the clear instructions. “It will bring in authenticity and accountability as details of the medical practitioners are mentioned. This is also good for keeping a record,” Joshi said.
“The only flip side is that new format is bit time consuming and doctors will have to take time to fill up all drug details,” he added.
However, family physician Avinash Bhondwe, while calling it a welcome move, pointed out a few debatable norms. “Writing each medicine’s generic name is good, but it is not possible to write mixtures or combination of drugs where the ingredients are very different. For instance, to write the prescription for a cough syrup like Corex, we will have to write all the 5-6 ingredients it contains which are not there in the generic form, so the chemist will not get a clear picture.”
“Additionally, writing the patient’s address will be cumbersome as many stay in nearby villages or slums and are unable to share specifi c addresses,” Bhondwe said.
Times of India
15 March 2014,