BHUBANESWAR: With doctors in Government hospitals persisting with their practice of prescribing medicine brands instead of generics despite lapse of nearly a year after launch of Niramaya free drug distribution scheme, the State Government has moved to put them on a tight leash.
Taking strong exception to the practice, which is forcing patients to buy medicines from outside despite availability of the very formulations in hospitals, the Health Department on Thursday issued a set of stern instructions, making prescription audit mandatory from this year.
“It has come to the notice of the Government that doctors are prescribing medicines or consumable to patients to purchase from outside though similar/substitute or same molecule medicines are available with the hospital stores, sub-stores of drug distribution centres (DDCs),” Health Secretary Arti Ahuja said in a circular issued to the three medical colleges, AHRCC, Sishu Bhawan, Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar, RGH, Rourkela and all chief district medical officers (CDMOs).
The heads of institutions have been ordered to ensure strict compliance to the guidelines on prescribing generic names of medicines unless it is absolutely necessary for otherwise. All the prescriptions issued at the out-patient departments (OPDs) and wards will have to be scanned at the DDC of the hospital for keeping a tab on the practice.
To dissuade doctors from prescribing medicine brands, the Health Department has also clamped a ban on entry of medicine representatives into hospitals during OPD hours. On the other hand, an updated list of medicines and consumables available at the hospitals concerned will be circulated regularly among doctors and paramedics at OPDs, IPDs, labour rooms and OTs. For ensuring free flow of information, electronic display systems would be put up in OPDs and IPDs displaying availability of free drugs, consumables and laboratory services.
The State Government’s move assumes significance as more than 10 months after the launch of Niramaya and supply of medicines to all public health institutions across the State, a substantial chunk of poor and needy patients is still deprived of the free drugs. The Odisha State Medical Corporation is supplying more than 500 drug compositions, consumables and surgical items to hospitals. While `200 crore has been allocated for the purpose in 2014-15, `80 crore worth of medicines have been supplied to the hospitals till date.
The Secretary has also directed that all laboratory or diagnostic services should be located on the ground floors of hospitals to ensure easy accessibility for patients. Prominent signages should mark the centres as well as OPDs and IPD for informing the patients. The authorities must also ensure that all common investigations and diagnostic services are provided to patients attending the public hospitals.