Home  >  Editorial
Msc_Apr23 Advertisement
you can get e-magazine links on WhatsApp. Click here
+ Font Resize -


Ramesh Shankar
Thursday, March 9, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Recently, the Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association at its meeting held at Trichy in Tamil Nadu passed seven resolutions on various core issues faced by the pharmaceutical trade sector in the country. One of the core issues taken up by the trade body was the issue of illegible prescription writing by the doctors. The traders unanimously wanted the state government to issue an urgent order to the doctors’ community to write all the prescriptions in generic names and in legible handwriting using capital letters. TNCDA contends that many of the retailers face difficulties in reading the prescriptions and comprehending the doses of drugs written by the doctors. Because of illegible writing by doctors dispensing errors are happening in retail pharmacies. The dispensers sometimes fail to understand the brands and the dosage strength suggested by the doctors through their prescriptions. Even though there are court orders and directions from the medical council to insist for legible handwriting by doctors while prescribing medicines, it is not properly implemented in the state. Earlier, there were reports that the Kerala Private Pharmacist Association (KPPA) was planning to move court against illegible prescription writing by the doctors. The association wanted to get a permanent direction to the doctors’ community on the issue as several dispensing errors are happening in hospital and community pharmacies across the state because of the illegible prescription writing by doctors. The association has cited three incidents of dispensing errors which have occurred in some hospitals because of illegible writing of drug names by medical professionals.

Obviously, the issue is serious as the pharmacists at the medical shops face difficulties in reading some of the names of the medicines written by the doctors, especially some specialists who write only the first two letters and the last two letters with a long line in the middle. As an expert aptly said, most doctors’ handwriting does not look much different from an electrocardiograph tracing. This kind of unreadable manner of prescription writing makes the pharmacists at the hospital and community pharmacies confused which leads to dispensing errors and wrong delivery of medicines. There were also reports recently that because of the incomprehensible scribbling of drug names by the doctors, the pharmacists in government as well as private pharmacies are forced to spend time in social media to grasp the medical terms through peer-to-peer chats or by telephonic conversations after forwarding the baffling prescriptions to social networking platforms of the pharmacist community.  It is true that majority of the medical professionals in the country are still adhering to their conventional style of prescription writing in spite of the fact the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the state medical councils have repeatedly been directing the doctors to write the names of medicines legibly in capital letters with preference to generic names. In our country doctors are well aware that most of the patients do not understand much about medicines prescribed to them. Most of the patients would present their doctor’s prescription to the chemist and quietly walk home with the drugs dispensed. It is well known that the chemist’s shop is usually managed by a matriculate boy who fills in for the mandatory pharmacist. As if the general chaos at the chemist’s counters was not sufficient, pharmaceutical companies have added fuel to the fire with confusing brand names. It is under this background, the MCI issued guidelines on September 28, 2016, making it mandatory for the doctors to write the medicines in capital letters. The MCI guidelines were meant to prevent wrong dispensing and medication error. It is sure legible prescription writing will go a long way in reducing wrong dispensing and medication errors which are quite preventable medical errors. Experts and traders have been clamouring for a lasting solution to the issue. Now, it is up to the government to act on it. And, obviously, it will save many lives in the country.


Post Your commentsPOST YOUR COMMENT
* Name :     
* Email :    
  Website :  
Balasubramanian S Mar 10, 2023 1:11 PM
Sir. Illegible hand writing is not always due to innocence, it may also due to ignorance ( of correct name of drug) and/or delibrate
act. Yes some doctors are using bad hand writing as a secret code , so that it can be dispensed by a particular pharmacy especially their own pharmacy inside or just outside their clinic. Other community pharmacies in the neigbourhood knows that and used to send back the patient to those pharmacies. Capital letters or computer printouts must be made compulsary. Docors may be return back that pharmacists are not available in pharmacies as you have pointed out correctly.
Copyright © 2016 Saffron Media Pvt. Ltd |