With a view to further promoting the rational use of drugs particularly in key therapeutic areas, the Health Ministry is mulling the idea of framing treatment guidelines for diseases like HIV, TB and Malaria programmes.
The proposed prescription guidelines will be made applicable not only in the government centres that are extending treatment for HIV and TB, but also for the private health facilities and providers. The Ministry has taken inputs from some leading experts in this regard. However, details will be worked out only in consonance with all the stakeholders, sources said.
“With hardly any new antibiotics, anti-TB, anti-malarial being developed, the control of drug resistance to currently available medicines has become crucial. It is therefore necessary there is a well evidenced and compelling need for public and patient education in the appropriate use of drugs particularly antibiotics/ antimicrobials, with potential benefits to the individual patient and public health,” sources said.
An expert panel of the Planning Commission has already suggested several steps to promote rational use of medicines. One of the key recommendations is to introduce a system to make compulsory the use of generic names or the international non-proprietary name (INN) at all stages of production and distribution.
Use of generic names or INN should be encouraged at all stages of procurement, distribution, prescription and use as it contributes to a sound system of procurement and distribution, drug information and rational use at every level of the health care system, according to the expert panel.
“A comprehensive law is required to mandate prescription audits, a measure necessary to curb drug resistance. The DCGI and FSSAI will jointly examine the neutraceuticals having multivitamins, minerals etc for prophylactic and therapeutic purpose,” the report of the panel said.
Irrational FDCs, non-essential vitamins/tonics, cough syrups feature in the top selling pharmaceuticals in terms of value and volume but they harm public health and patients by increasing adverse effects, imposing higher financial burden on patients and facilitating – emergence of drug resistance (in the case of FDCs of antibiotics). Therefore, stricter criteria for registration and – regulatory review of medicines by CDCSO should be a priority. This helps weed- out substandard, toxic, irrational medicines from the market, the panel said.