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‘Either Prescribe Generic Medicines Or Face Action’: Centre Warns Doctors At Govt Hospitals

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The Centre has warned doctors at central government-run hospitals and Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) wellness centres to follow generic medicine prescribing guidelines or face disciplinary action. It also asked them to ensure that medical representatives’ visits to hospital premises are strictly limited, news agency PTI reported on Monday (May 15).

Doctors at central government hospitals, CGHS wellness centres, and polyclinics have been repeatedly instructed by an office order to only prescribe generic medications. “Despite this, it has been observed that doctors (including residents) continue to prescribe branded medicines in some cases. The competent authority has strictly viewed this,” said Dr Atul Goel, Director General of Health Services, in an office order issued on May 12.

This may be noted by all institutional heads, and they may ensure strict compliance by the doctors working under them, according to the order. The order also stated that it has threatened to take action in cases of noncompliance.

Furthermore, the order directed them to ensure that medical representatives’ visits to hospital premises are restricted.

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Generic medicines contain the same active ingredient as brand-name medicines and work in the same way, but their appearance and non-active ingredients may differ. Generic medications are frequently less expensive than brand-name medications.

An official statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in July 2022 said: “The Government of India is aware that, despite Court orders and relevant regulations of the Medical Council of India, generic medicines are not being prescribed by the majority of medical practitioners”.

“In this regard, clause 1.5 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette, and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 states that every physician must prescribe drugs with legible generic names, preferably in capital letters, and must ensure that the drug is prescribed and used rationally. Furthermore, the erstwhile Medical Council of India (MCI) issued circulars directing all Registered Medical Practitioners to comply with the aforementioned provisions,” it added further. 

The National Medical Commission Act of 2019 authorises the appropriate state medical councils or the commission’s Ethics and Medical Registration Board (EMRB) to take disciplinary action against a doctor who violates a provision of the aforementioned regulations. 

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