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The country's apex medical regulator has warned doctors of action if they failed to adhere to its guideline on prescribing drugs in generic names.
The Medical Council of India's directive comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of putting in place a legal framework to ensure that doctors prescribed low cost generic medicines to patients.
The MCI yesterday reminded doctors that prescriptions had to be legible, preferably in capital letters, and there had to be a "rational" prescription on the use of drugs, failing which "strict disciplinary action" would be taken.
The MCI has asked the medical community to follow its 2016 notification in which it had amended clause 1.5 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, in this regard.
Recently, while inaugurating a multi-speciality hospital in Surat, Modi had said that doctors write prescriptions in such a way that poor people do not understand their handwriting and they end up buying medicines from private stores at high prices.
"All the registered medical practitioners under the IMC Act are directed to comply with the aforesaid provisions of the regulations without fail," said the MCI circular, issued to the deans, principals of medical colleges, directors of hospitals and presidents of all State Medical Councils.
The government is also revising the National List of Essential Medicines of 2015 to include more medicines.
The Jan Aushadhi programme, under which the government provides essential medicines at reasonable rates at specially established shops, is also being reinforced.