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Regulations to get pharmacists fall in line

The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry will shortly introduce a set of regulations to hold all private pharmacy owners and pharmacists accountable for the smooth implementation of the new policy of issuing all drugs under their generic names.

“This is to ensure all patients derive the full benefit of the new policy,” a Ministry spokesman said.

He said at present all doctors are called upon to issue prescriptions in the generic form instead of trade names, which had been made compulsory under the Drugs and Cosmetic Equipment Act No. 27 of 1980.”

A large number of patients have already contacted the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry to thank the Health Ministry decision which has helped to cut down the price of drugs by around 90 per cent while enabling them to obtain high quality drugs from either State or private sector drug outlets”.

The Ministry banned the prescribing of drugs under their trade names from January 1. Henceforth all drugs will be prescribed under their generic names. However, there is a possibility of private pharmacists substituting trade names of the drugs at exorbitant prices.

The Health Ministry decision to order the prescribing of drugs in their generic names is to ensure Prof. Senaka Bibile’s National Drug Policy is implemented as promised in the Mahinda Chinthanaya.

On several occasions the wrong drugs had been issued to patients because of the use of trade names. The use of generic names will prevent all risks associated with brand names.

The use of the generic name has drastically cut down the costs of hitherto high price drugs thus providing immense relief to patients, the Health Ministry sources said .

“For example the drug paracetamol is available under some 50 trade names with prices ranging from 10 cent to Rs. 2.00 but the quality and effect of all these products are same”.

“It is the same with drugs prescribed for high blood pressure. The prices range from Rs. 7.00 to Rs. 100 and patients pay Rs. 100 for a drug which has the same effect and quality as a drug priced at Rs. 7.

The new set of regulations will prevent private pharmacy owners and pharmacists from selling expensive drugs to patients when the same drug is available at a very low price.

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