Brand-conscious doctors give generic drugs a go-by

  • Nihi Sharma Sahani, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
  • Updated: Jul 18, 2015 17:32 IST

The authorities at the state-run Doon district hospital said that they are keeping a tab on doctors who are not prescribing generic drugs to the patients but cannot stop the practice.

There was no other mechanism than to sensitise doctors to prescribe generic drugs and not branded medicines, said Dr RS Aswal, the chief medical superintendent at the hospital.

“We can only request them (doctors) to prescribe generic medicines. But, we cannot take serious action against them. We are keeping track of doctors who are not prescribing generic medicines at the hospital,” he said.

As per a clause of Code of Medical Ethics 2002, of the Medical Council of India, “every physician should, as far as possible, prescribe drugs with generic names and he/she shall ensure that there is rational prescription and use of drugs.”

The norm is openly flouted in government health facilities. More so because the clause 7 pertaining to misconduct does not notifies it as a violation. As a result, doctors fearlessly prescribe generic drugs.

No act for punishment of doctors: DG health

State director general of health Dr RP Bhatt says that no strict action can be taken against any doctor for prescribing generic drugs.

“Prescribing branded medicines is not a crime. It’s a code that should be followed. Moreover, there’s no Act defining the type of action that should be taken against the doctors prescribing branded medicines.

“Why prescribing generic medicine is required from only a government doctor? The private doctor is equally accountable to prescribe generic medicines. Then why aren’t press people questioning them,” he said.

The game

Pharmaceutical companies promote their medicines through doctors for which they are offered special gifts. Contrary to this, doctors do not get anything to promote and prescribe generic drugs.

A chemist, requesting anonymity, told HT: “Branded companies spend a lot on marketing because of tough competition. They offer perks and benefits to oblige doctors for prescribing their brand medicines.”

Advocating the stance of government doctors, Dr Sanjeev Goswami, the general secretary Provincial Medical Health Services Association said, “Doctors prescribe only those branded medicines that are unavailable with the hospital.”

Jan Aushadhi Kendra

On November 9, 2009 under the central government project, the first Jan Aushadhi Store (JAS) was started at the Doon District Hospital. The store offered generic drugs at nominal rates. Despite the launch of the store, doctors continue to prescribe branded medicines at the hospital.

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