It seems there are no takers for the fresh guidelines issued by the Medical Council of India (MCI) urging physicians to prescribe generic medicines instead of branded drugs. At PGI, where the administration has endorsed the same notification issued two months ago, the doctors, continue to prescribe branded drugs.
A fresh notice issued by the MCI in September reads, “Every physician should prescribe drugs with generic names legibly and preferably in capital letters and he/she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs.” In October, the same notification was endorsed by the PGI administration and was forwarded to all the Institute staff.
Chandigarh Newsline on Saturday found several prescriptions where doctors prescribed branded drugs instead of generic. “I managed to get only few medicines prescribed by the doctors on my card from PGI’s Jan Aushadhi store,”said Deepak Kumar, a Haryana resident. The store is managed by the central government and sells only generic medicines informed him that the doctors have prescribed “branded drugs” which are not available here.
An official of the store told Chandigarh Newsline that at many instances the resident doctors of the Institute, return the medicines. “When family members visit us, we provide them generic medicines, even if branded drugs have been prescribed. But, doctors return them. We have 600 plus medicines available at our store but the ratio of prescribed generic medicine is very less at the PGI,” he said. The official, however, admitted that not all the ‘medicines are available’ at the store.
Besides two Jan Aushadhi stores, there are also Amrit outlets which sells generic medicines at the Institute. An Amrit official said that when they provide substitutes to the branded drugs, “on many occasions, doctors return them.”
Doctors, however, claimed that they are forced to prescribe branded drugs since generic ones are not easily available in the stores. “During emergencies, when we prescribe generic medicines, we found that patients don’t get them because they are not available. We are forced to prescribe branded drugs. We can’t wait till the patient’s family members travels the entire city to get that generic medicine,” said a doctor posted in PGI Nehru emergency.
“We will be more happy to prescribe generic medicines to the patients. But, the government should ensure the quality of these generic drugs,”said president of PGI Faculty Association, Dr T D Yadav, from the department of general surgery.
Officiating PGI Director Dr Subhash Verma said the efforts are on so that all the doctors prescribe generic medicines. “Gradually things are changing and we have given clear instructions to the doctors that they should preferably prescribe generic medicines. Even we have mentioned in the prescription cards that if branded medicines are written, the chemists can provide generic medicines equivalent to that drug,” he said.