Sunday June 23, 2024

DRAP directive to provinces: ‘Ensure doctors prescribed drugs with generic names’

By Amer Malik
April 19, 2021

LAHORE: The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has directed all provincial governments to ensure that doctors prescribe medicines with their generic names in public and private sector in the country.

The DRAP issued the order in response to public complaints on PM’s citizens’ portal against pharmaceutical companies and doctors’ collusion to rip off of the people through prescription and sale of costlier medicines under brand name.

In a letter to secretaries of health departments of all four provinces, Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Commissioner of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), DRAP’s Director Pharmacy Services Dr Abdur Rasheed said the citizens had complained through Prime Minister’s Performance Delivery Unit (PMDU) against company-influenced brand-based prescription of medicines by doctors in government and private sectors. This practice adds to the economic burden of the country, and also puts financial load on patients due to purchase of pricier brands. Such practice is also against the Code of Ethics for medical and dental practitioners.

The DRAP, therefore, directed the health authorities across Pakistan to take necessary measures for promoting generic prescriptions by doctors and discourage the practice of incentivized prescription in the best interest of patients and the country.

The Drug Act 1976, in its Section 7 “Registration of Drugs”, Clause-8, says that single-ingredient drugs (containing one active ingredient) shall be registered generally by their generic names, while compound drugs (containing more than one active ingredient) shall be registered generally by their proprietary names.

On the contrary, Drug Lawyers’ Forum, President, Noor Mahar said that doctors in connivance with pharmaceutical companies were involved in unethical practice of writing even single-ingredient drugs with their brands names in violation of the regulatory law. For instance, he named a brand medicine manufactured with Amlodipine salt for heart patients – is being sold at Rs 460, while same drug with the another brand name is available at Rs 49.

“The doctors prescribe costlier medicines for monetary and other benefits from pharmaceutical companies, which in turn make money by putting unnecessary financial burden on the patients,” he said.

The prices of thousands of drugs required in the treatment of cancer, diabetes, liver and kidney disorders and many more diseases could be instantly brought down by making doctors responsible for prescribing medicines with their generic names, he added.