Prescription audit: The right treatment
Jammu and Kashmir is one of the few regions in India which tops the table in consumption of medicine. The region has the presence of almost all pharmaceutical manufacturing companies given the fact that people here consume lot of medicine owing to the health issue they face.
The high consumption of medicine turns out to be the reason for various malpractices that are often reported as various medicos resort to unnecessary prescribing of medicine to the people.
To control the menace the Health and Medical Education Department (H&ME) has accorded sanction for the constitution of prescription audit committees at the Government Health Institutions across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The prescription audit committee will be formed at the Government Medical College, district and sub-district levels.
The prescription committees would keep a check on the prescriptions given by the doctors and to contain the reported unethical practices by some health care professionals.
The government plans to appoint nodal officers who shall at random collect photocopies of at least 1% (one percent) of the prescriptions on daily basis written by the Government Doctors in the OPDs.
These prescriptions collected by the Nodal officers shall be scrutinized by the Prescription Audit committees to check whether the prescription are written legibly in Capital Letters with the name of the doctors, his/her signatures and registration number, generic drugs are prescribed and preference given to the drugs which are available free in the Hospital supplies, unnecessary diagnostics test are not prescribed and patients are not referred to private clinics/specialists without requirement and whether drugs are prescribed in contravention to the provision of Drug and Cosmetics Act and Regulations.
It shall be again ensured by the prescription audit committee that fortnightly reports are sent to the HODs. HODs shall prepare a comprehensive monthly report along with their recommendation highlighting the actionable points, which shall be submitted to Administrative Department.
The move is a welcome provided that the policy framed is put to practice. As of now no such practice was followed in Jammu and Kashmir as various vested interests have been intervening at various levels to get the entire process stalled.
These vested interests who are hand in glove with pharmaceutical companies had so far succeeded to control the medicine market in Jammu and Kashmir that too at the cost of the poor and hapless patients here.
The government should now ensure that the prescription audit mechanism is put in place and strict punishment is given to those who violate or sabotage the move.