In contravention of rules, more than 70% of the total medicines at the emergency wing of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Institute and Research (PGIMER) are being prescribed by their brand names, instead of the generic salt. This raises the healthcare cost of a patient as branded medicines cost several times more than the generic versions.
The Medical Council of India and the PGIMER administration has several times issued orders banning prescription of brand names, but t here is still no implementation.
In fact, the pharmacology department study of the institute, published in the l atest issue of Emergency Medicine International, points to a nexus between doctors and pharmaceutical companies.
Prescription slips of more than 1,100 patients were studied that arrived at the 70% branded medicine prescription figure.
It was also found that the number of drugs per prescription was around 5, higher than the WHO-recommended limit of a maximum of two drugs. However, the study does defend this practice.
The study also found that expensive multi-vitamins were being prescribed to patients even as cheaper substitutes were available.
“There is a need for rationalising drug therapy in the emergency settings with regard to increasing adherence to national essential medicine list and increasing prescription of drugs by generic name,” the study observed.
It was also found that the cost per prescription was found to be around ` 7,600.
“The cost is very high and needs to be reduced to make a difference.”