DRAP bans brand names of medicines in doctors’ prescriptions

LAHORE   -  To make medicines cheaper and break the unhealthy nexus between pharmaceuticals companies and doctors, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has prohibited medical practitioners from writing brand names of medicines in prescriptions.

“The doctors in their prescriptions should write the generic formula of the medicines,” the regulatory authority said in its advisory on Sunday.

“The DRAP has made it unlawful for doctors to write the medicine’s manufacturer’s name in their prescriptions,” according to the circular. “It is a common practice that the private as well as government hospitals’ doctors write the ‘brand name’ of a medicine in their prescriptions with an expensive price.” “The patients become overburdened to purchase expensive medicines of a specific brand,” the DRAP circular read.

“Now the medical practitioners will write generic formulas instead of the brand name of a medicine,” the letter further read.

“Prime Minister’s Performance Delivery Unit has received several complaints with regard to the doctor’s habit to suggest brand names of medicines in their prescriptions,” the DRAP circular concluded. It is generally believed that many doctors predominantly prescribe those brands, which are promoted by a pharmaceutical company even when a low-cost generic substitute is available.

Unlike in the US and some other developed countries where branded drugs refer to patented drugs, while the off-patent ones are called generics.  Some believe that the so-called branded drugs are nothing but generic drugs promoted as brands, like the example of Amoxycillin and Clavulanic acid which is promoted as Augmentin and Clavam.

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