Hospital eye on branded medicine

The Telegraph

Siliguri, July 7: The chief medical officer of health in Darjeeling has asked the superintendent of Siliguri district hospital to conduct checks to see if doctors were mentioning brand names of medicines in prescriptions instead of generic names.

Subir Bhowmik, the chief medical officer of health (CMOH), has instructed hospital superintendent Sanjib Majumdar to submit reports to him at regular intervals.

Darjeeling district hospital has also been told to conduct identical checks when patients are give prescriptions.

Last year, the state government set up fair-price medicine shops at the district hospitals in Siliguri and Darjeeling and in North Bengal Medical College and Hospital.

According to a state government directive, doctors in state hospitals are expected to prescribe medicines according to their generic names, as lower priced unbranded generic drugs are available in the fair-price shops. For example, a doctor may prescribe paracetamol to a patient as this is a generic name, but he must not prescribe a medicine brand of paracetamol. In cases when the doctor would need to prescribe a combination of compounds, he may name a branded drug in the prescription.

Hospital sources said the CMOH had received complaints that some doctors were still prescribing brand names of medicines in prescriptions.

“There are some doctors who are still prescribing medicines by brand names. If the trend persists, fair-price shops will be unsuccessful. I have asked the superintendent to conduct prescription audits and submit reports to me at regular intervals. The hospital will have to conduct impromptu inspections of wards and out patient departments to check prescriptions,” Bhowmik said. “I have passed the same instruction to authorities of the district hospital in Darjeeling,” he added.

Sources said staff members at fair-price shops are inconvenienced as they often receive brand names. “Doctors are supposed to write generic names like paracetamol or cetirizine as only generic drugs are available in the fair-price shops. But patients often come with brand names. In these cases, they either ask the doctors to rewrite the prescription or buy medicines from outside,” a Siliguri hospital source said.

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