Fear of misinterpretation due to doctor's illegible handwriting may soon be a thing of the past as government is set to make it a norm for physicians to prescribe medicines "preferably" in capital letters.
The Union Health Ministry will come out with a gazette notification under the Indian MCI Regulations which will mandate doctors to prescribe medicines in capital letters in a "legible" manner and also mention the generic names of the drugs.
"The Health Ministry will come out with gazette notification under the MCI regulations. Under this, the prescription should be legible and preferably written in capital letters along with the names of the generic drug prescribed," a senior Union Health Ministry official told PTI.
Sources said that the notification is likely to be issued by the Ministry within a week's time.
Health Ministry officials said that once the prescription is written in capital letters and is legible, it would be hugely benefit patients as well as chemists who would have a clarity of the drug and it would take away the fear of misinterpretation.
However, the senior health ministry official said that there would no penalties or punishment for the doctor as such for not writing in capital letters.
"Like all other MCI regulations, this too will govern the doctors," the official said.
Health Minister J P Nadda last year in Parliament had agreed with concerns of some MPs that illegible prescription by doctors may lead to serious implications and even death in certain cases.
"The central government has approved to amend Indian Medical Council Regulations, 2002, providing therein that every physician should prescribe drugs with generic names in legible and capital latter and he/she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs," Mr Nadda said.
K K Aggarwal of Indian Medical Association (IMA) said this will help decrease prescription errors and it is a cheaper alternative to electronic health records.
"Prescription errors will decrease. It will become uniform. One drug has 10 odd brands. The patients will be now able to know whether the drug is generic or not," Mr Aggarwal told PTI.
"In US alone, 100,000 prescription errors occur every year. India does not have any data on this. This is a cheaper alternative to electronic health records. It will take some time for doctors to get used to it," he said.