With the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) administration communicating to the chemists that they are not bound to sell medicines of specific brands, even if a doctor prescribes them, the doctor-phar maceutical company nexus could finally be broken.
The institute has started putting a stamp on all the Outdoor Patient Department (OPD) registration-cum-prescription cards, saying that ‘Supply the following drugs or equivalent generic drugs’.
This seems to have changed the equation between the doctors and the chemists too, who now feel a little more bold in going against the doctor’s prescription and selling lowerpriced generics. Previously, chemists used to dread being fined heavily for substituting branded medicines with generic medicines as they could be
liable for heavy penalties, if found doing so.
Doctors also seem to have no other option than to prescribe the generic version and not necessarily the expensive branded medicine, as chemists do veto them.
“Now, we often give them the medicines that are available and are cheaper than what the doctor has prescribed. The doctors also do not turn them down as they usually insist that patients showed them the medicines bought,” said a chemist, who runs shop in New Shopping Complex at the PGIMER.
“At the PGI, the doctors used to ask patients to show the medicines bought so that they could confirm that the chemist had sold the brand prescribed. We were often shouted at, if we sold brands other than prescribed. The doctors would also ask the estate branch to impose heavy penalties. Now, they simply accept whatever medicine the patient purchases,” said another chemist at the Old Shopping Complex.
Under the new rule, the medicine shouldn’t be more expensive than the one prescribed by the doctor.
The PGIMER move to give chemists the necessary freedom was resisted by the phar maceutical-doctor lobby. It is a common practice among doctors of the city in private as well as government sector to prescribe expensive medicines with their brand names instead of prescribing these with their generic names, even though there is no difference in quality.