Doctors defy prescription code

City doctors are yet to comply with the guidelines formed by the Medical Council of India for prescription of generic medicines.

By Sandeep Mishra in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 28.04.17

The medicine distribution centre at Capital Hospital and (above) a dentist of the health care facility on Wednesday issued a prescription mentioning brand names (encircled) and that too, in small letters. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, April 27: City doctors are yet to comply with the guidelines formed by the Medical Council of India for prescription of generic medicines.

On April 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked all doctors in the country to prescribe generic medicines while inaugurating a hospital in Surat. Following this, the Medical Council of India (MCI) reiterated its 2016 guideline asking doctors to either prescribe generic medicines or face action. The MCI guidelines also mandate writing of prescriptions in capital letters.

However, neither the advice of the Prime Minister nor the directives of the apex medical body of the country appears to have changed the attitude of the doctors.

A sudden visit by The Telegraph to the city's biggest public hospital - Capital Hospital - revealed that the doctors were neither prescribing generic medicines nor writing in capital letters.

Trilochan Lenka, the attendant of a patient, narrated to The Telegraph how difficult it was for him to find a drug of a particular brand that a doctor had prescribed for his friend.

Trilochan came to Capital Hospital from Nayagarh last night with his friend Padma Lochan Lenka who suffered injuries in a road accident.

Padma Lochan had a fractured his right hand, two teeth broken teeth and the right side of his face bruised in the accident. After providing initial treatment to Padma Lochan, the doctors prescribed medicines for him that cost Trilochan about Rs 1,000.

"I went to the drug distribution centre of the hospital with the prescription. But, none of the medicines were available there. The store operator advised me to go out and get the medicine. The drug centre stocks only generic drugs and is supposed to provide medicines for free. I couldn't find the medicine at the centre since the doctor prescribed branded drugs. I am a poor man and am spending money unnecessarily here," said Trilochan.

Talking to The Telegraph, Capital Hospital superintendent Manoranjan Dash said they were sensitising the doctors and also taking action if they failed to abide by the guidelines. "We have a prescription audit system in place which we conduct periodically. If any doctor is found violating the guidelines, they are called and counselled. If they repeat the violations, they face action," said Dash.

Such violations by the doctors are also rampant at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on the outskirts of the city. The doctors here are prescribing branded medicines instead of generic ones. Moreover, the recently opened Amrit outlet, which is supposed to provide costly drugs at half the market price, is of no use since the doctors are not prescribing medicines stocked in the store.

A patient's attendant, Bidyadhar Mallik, said that he had brought his father to the hospital and done a biopsy. "The doctors prescribed medicines that were neither available in the medicine store on the campus nor outside. I had to go all the way to the city to get the medicines. They are so costly that I paid Rs 4,000 for about six kinds medicines," said Mallik.

A senior AIIMS administrator said that they were procuring the essential medicines for the Amrit store in a phased manner. "We had opened the store in March and are in the process of stocking all essential medicines. We are also advising the doctors to prescribe drugs in generic name and write the prescriptions legibly. We also have a complaint cell where anyone can come and file complaints. We will take action," said the administrator. Besides, the government-run hospitals, patients are suffering at the private facilities as well, as the doctors there are turning a blind eye to guidelines of the apex medical body. The Janausadhi stores are of no use as the doctors do not prescribe generic drugs.

A Janausadhi store operator, Nirmalya Nayak, said people hardly came to the store with prescriptions, as the doctors don't prescribe medicines in generic names.

"Some educated people come and get the medicine by spelling the names themselves. But they are a rarity," said Nayak.