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Doctors Told to Write Detailed & Easy-to-Read Prescriptions

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FDA Rule Effective From May, Medicos Say Process Will Be Cumbersome

The doctor’s prescription that in most cases only a chemist can understand, will now mandatorily have to be in legible handwriting, have complete details of the patient, the doctor and also the pharmacist who dispenses the drugs. The Food and Drugs Administration issued a revised prescription format about a fortnight ago that requires doctors to write the name of drugs in capital letters and use their generic names. The new format will come into effect in May.

Failure to understand prescriptions or illegible handwriting of doctors is considered a leading cause for medical errors. The FDA guidelines have been based on the Drug and Cosmetics Act and suggest a uniform format.

“The state government released the revised drug prescription format on February 28. During a meeting with various doctors’ associations in Pune, it was decided they would start prescribing drugs in the revised format. We also set a deadline of one-and-a-half months for its implementation,” state FDA commissioner Mahesh Zagade told TOI on Thursday.

Surgeon Maya Tulpule, president of the city chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), said the association has already started sensitising doctors about the revised prescription format. “By May, all doctors in Pune will start prescribing drugs as per the revised format,” she said.

Doctors agree that adherence to such rules will bring down complaints of adverse drug reactions. Internal medicine expert Abhijit Joshi said the revised prescription will help bring in uniformity and prevent any confusion due to the clear instructions. “It will bring in authenticity and accountability as details of the medical practitioners are mentioned. This is also good for keeping a record,” Joshi said.

“The only flip side is that new format is bit time consuming and doctors will have to take time to fill up all drug details,” he added.

However, family physician Avinash Bhondwe, while calling it a welcome move, pointed out a few debatable norms. “Writing each medicine’s generic name is good, but it is not possible to write mixtures or combination of drugs where the ingredients are very different. For instance, to write the prescription for a cough syrup like Corex, we will have to write all the 5-6 ingredients it contains which are not there in the generic form, so the chemist will not get a clear picture.”

“Additionally, writing the patient’s address will be cumbersome as many stay in nearby villages or slums and are unable to share specifi c addresses,” Bhondwe said.

Docs told to write detailed & easy-to-read prescriptions

Times of India
15 March 2014,
Pune, India

Disclaimer: The news story on this page is the copyright of the cited publication. This has been reproduced here for visitors to review, comment on and discuss. This is in keeping with the principle of ’Fair dealing’ or ’Fair use’. Visitors may click on the publication name, in the news story, to visit the original article as it appears on the publication’s website.

Indian-origin Doctor in US Implants First Leadless Pacemaker Inside Patient's Heart

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An Indian–origin doctor in the US has implanted the first miniature–sized, leadless cardiac pacemaker directly inside a patient's heart without surgery.

The leads–free pacemaker is implanted directly inside the heart during a catheter–guided procedure through the groin via the femoral artery.

Centre Helps People Assess Cancer Risk

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There is better awareness about genetic testing for cancer in the city. Within a month of its launch, the first counselling centre set up in a city hospital to advise people on whether or not they need to take genetic tests has seen eight families with a strong family history of cancer walk in for consultations, to figure if they are predisposed to the condition. In three cases, genetic tests were advised to assess their risk.

Health experts note that people are gradually becoming better informed, even prepared to deal with an illness that in most cases continues to catch many unawares. Besides, with multiple firms offering genetic tests, the centre comes in handy to figure out whether an individual really needs to undergo the test at all. There are strict guidelines for performing such tests, including family history (cancer in two or more relatives and their age when it was detected). Moreover, doctors say that all such predictive testing has to be preceded and followed by appropriate genetic counselling.

Cancer Insurance Claims Rise Sharply

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Medical insurance companies are reporting more claims by cancer patients, indicating a rise in the incidence of the disease. Every year, at least 10 lakh new cases of cancer are detected in India and six lakh die of it.

On the bright side, analysis of the reimbursement data shows that the number of patients fighting cancer – and surviving it – is increasing, said medical and insurance experts. On the other hand, though cancer is mainly considered a disease of the elderly, almost half of the claims are from younger patients. Persons between 46 and 55 comprised almost a quarter of all claims from a private insurer, while almost one in five reimbursement demands came from those between 36 and 45.

Focus on Antibody Use to Treat Rabies

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Rabies treatment will be managed better now with the Union health ministry issuing fresh guidelines, stressing on the use of readymade antibodies called rabies immunoglobulines (RIG) to treat patients. The guidelines assume significance in Pune city, which reported 20 deaths due to rabies last year. While RIG was not properly administered in some cases, in others it wasn't given at all to the patient.

The 'National Guidelines on Rabies Prophylaxis', issued recently, has stressed on the use of RIG not only in category III dog bite cases (that currently prevails) but also in category II dog bite cases, if the patient has weak or impaired immune system arising out of conditions such as HIV/AIDS, pregnancy or even cancer wherein the patient is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Other conditions, such as genetic disorders, can also lead to poor immunity. Doctors avoided administering the antibody in such cases.

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