If doctors not allowed to prescribe branded drugs, why it should be licensed: IMA

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Demanding that the implementation of regulations that make it mandatory for doctors to prescribe generic drugs should be deferred, the Indian Medical Association has termed NMC regulation an ‘emergency’ and said that if doctors are not allowed to prescribe branded drugs, then why such drugs should be licensed at all.

“The ill-advised steps taken by NMC on the issue of Generic Drugs is an emergency. The regulation is mandatory for doctors to prescribe only generic drugs. It is a matter of great concern for IMA since this directly impacts patients’ care and safety”, said IMA in a statement.

The NMC in its “regulations relating to professional conduct of registered medical practitioners” stated that all doctors must prescribe generic drugs, failing which they will be penalised and even their licence to practise may be suspended for a period.

The IMA said the “biggest impediment to generic drugs is the uncertainty about their quality. The quality control in the nation being very weak, there is practically no guarantee of the quality of drugs and prescribing drugs without assured quality would be detrimental to patient health”.

“Less than 0.1% of the drugs manufactured in India are tested for quality. This step should be deferred till the Government can assure the quality of all the drugs released into the market”, said IMA, adding that the onus of exercising the choice shifts from the doctor to the medical shops.

The association said that if the Government and NMC want all the Doctors in the country to prescribe only generic drugs, they should simply order all pharmaceutical companies to manufacture all the drugs without brand names.  The govt, if serious about implementing generic drugs should give licence only to generics and not to any branded drugs while ensuring quality of generic drugs, the IMA said.

Underlining that the NMC notification is an injustice to doctors, the IMA has asked for “deferring of this Regulation for wider consultations by the Government of India” and has demanded a fool proof system of quality assurance before switching over to Generic drugs.