To bring about uniformity in prescriptions written by doctors and prevent wrong medicines from being dispensed to patients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to lay down a standard format for prescriptions. It has set up a committee to frame guidelines regarding contents of a prescription and implementation of these rules.
A senior FDA official said, “Uniformity is necessary in prescriptions to ensure that patients are dispensed proper medicines. These guidelines will help doctors understand necessary contents of a prescription.” The official added that, at times, prescriptions do not mention a doctor’s registration number.
Another official said they plan to include points like a doctor’s registration number and generic and brand names of medicines in prescriptions. “A change in an alphabet can lead to a different medicine being administered to a patient and cause disastrous results.
At times, a patient cannot read names of medicines in a prescription (due to poor handwriting),” he said, adding that they will ensure compliance with various acts and provisions.
The FDA committee consists of officials, pharmacists and medical practitioners. Its report is expected in around two months.
Dr Shivkumar Utture, finance secretary of the Indian Medical Association, Maharashtra, and executive member of the Maharashtra Medical Council, said, “It is a good move as writing an ideal prescription is not taught in medical colleges. Doctors have individual styles.”
He said improperly written prescriptions can lead to substitution of drugs a problem the world over. At times, doctors did not mention the dosage on prescriptions.