The recent changes and notifications made by MCI (Medical Council of India) have generated perplexity among doctors of Assam. The notification states, “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”, that reaffirms its orders from 2016. “The MCI rule has clearly stated doctors should prescribe drugs with generic names.
The notification is vague as to whether doctors should ‘only’ prescribe generic names. At the same time, it does not prohibit a doctor from writing the name of the company or the brand. Here ‘should’ means discretional and non-mandatory. Prescribing drugs with generic names only means writing chemical name of the drug. I am hugely confused as to whether I should prescribe generic or branded medicines to my patients since neither the MCI nor the Health Ministry has clarified the issue so far,” a doctor at the Gauhati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH) commented about the situation.
The doctor further told that the council should clarify the situation so that the confusion is cleared and patients can be prescribed the right kind if medicine. He also said that the doctors are forced to prescribe the branded drugs because the pharmacies aren’t following the prescription list provided by the ministry. An official establishment states the pharmacological name of the drug, but the manufacturer is responsible of giving it the brand name.
“Only the mandatory portion of the MCI’s 21st April notification (prescription shall have rationality of treatment and the drugs prescribed) can be actionable,” a former Principal of GMCH commented. “Before the government makes generic drugs mandatory, it must ensure adequate production and availability of quality generic drugs and stop production of branded drugs (except patented drugs) completely,” another expert chimed in. The situation needs to be resolved quickly if the authorities have to start distributing the medicines to people in need.
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