Why don’t physicians prescribe drugs by generic name?

Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday sought government response on why the doctors in the state were not prescribing drugs by generic name to “deny patients availability of medicines on uniform rates.”  

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Ali Mohammad Magrey asked the Government through its counsel M I Dar for response after perusing a report filed by amicus curie Altaf Haqani.  

He submitted that despite the regulatory provisions provided under Indian Medical Council Act, it has been invariably noticed that no medical record are maintained by the physicians pertaining to their indoor patients and while writing their prescription, they do not display their registration numbers either. 

The physicians, he said, also do not prescribe the drugs in their generic names. “On the contrary the drugs are prescribed by the physicians in the brand names of various pharmaceutical companies, result the drugs not being available to the consumers on uniform rates,” he said, underlining that it leads to corrupt, dishonest or unethical conduct on part of members of the profession as they receive gifts, gratuity, commission or bonus in consideration of prescribing the drugs by brand names. “This action by physicians betrays the duty towards their patients,” he said.

Referring to the compliance report submitted by the government previously, he said, it does not provide details regarding implementation of any such measures. The concerned officials, he said, have not indicated the details of implementation of free drug policy or as to when free diagnostics policy is to be implemented in the peripheral health institutions. 

“It is learnt that for administering the diagnostic policy, each basic health centre at the block level in the State has been provided with ultrasonic machines by making huge investments. It is also learnt that for operations of such machines, no technically qualified staff has been provided.”

 In the absence of such staff, he said, the machines are operated by unqualified technicians which has its own direct impact on the quality of the reports of health status of the patients as a result of which patients are forced to opt for the relevant tests from the open market.

He said no details of the prescription audit have been indicated in the status report or as to what is the status of its implementation. 

While the Heads of the Departments in terms of Government order of December 2016 have been assigned the task to frame standard operating procedures, he said no details were forthcoming. 

The government have not disclosed the progress on the count of Jan Aushadi Scheme or Janini Shishu Suraksha Kariyakarum. What was the description and quality of the diet provided is not as also about the details of free drugs, free diet, free blood and free transport schemes, both to the mother and infant. 

He said there are reports that no funds or medicines are available for the programme at various hospitals.

The amicus curie said that while government has referred to setting up of J&K MPCL but its budget and quality of medicines and scheme of supplies of drugs to the Hospitals has not been disclosed. 

The Government, the amicus said, be directed to provide the details of implementation of various provisions of law as also the schemes undertaken for welfare of health care.

The court was hearing a suo-moto PIL registered by it on 26 October last yearby taking cognizance of the news reports in national newspaper about medical corruption. 

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