Write medical prescriptions in capital letters, doctors told

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to issue notification in this regard

Write medical prescriptions in capital letters, doctors told

 If you think your physician’s handwriting is too hard to decipher for you and your pharmacist, fret not.

This may be a thing of the past, as doctors will soon write prescriptions in capital letters only.

On a recent directive of the Medical Council of India (MCI), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is all set to issue a notification asking doctors to write prescriptions in capital letters only. However, even as City doctors welcome the move, many are yet to comply with it.

Interestingly, writing prescriptions and even diagnosis reports in capital letters is a part of the MBBS curriculum. However, it is rarely practised, leaving both patients and pharmacists much hassled with illegible prescriptions.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Dr Anil Kumar, State Vice President, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Karnataka Chapter, said, “We have been informing our members this since the time the MCI had issued these instructions.

And now, with the ministry issuing a notification, it will be an order and every medical practitioner will be bound to follow it. In fact, in all our seminars and workshops with young medicos, we have been telling them about the importance and usefulness of writing prescriptions in capital letters. This is also taught during the MBBS course.”

Dr P K Devadas, Medical Superintendent, Victoria Hospital, said, “As a practice, all doctors should be using capital letters, as it is very important to write the names of medicines and even diagnosis reports clearly, especially in Medico Legal Cases (MLC). We are yet to receive the official orders in this regard, but this is a part of the study for medical students and it is just that it’s not being practised widely.”

Citing an example on how confusion over the name of the medicine in the prescription could have serious consequences, Devadas said that once a woman accidentally underwent an abortion when a doctor had written the name of a medicine which had a similar name with another drug not to be given to expecting women.

The name of the patient, specifically in MLC cases and accidents, and while writing a death certificate, should be in capital letters, he said.

The diagnosis and even how the medication has to be taken, orally or tropically, should also be written clearly, so that there is no confusion for the patient or the pharmacist, he suggested.

The Health ministry is likely to issue a gazette notification directing doctors to write prescriptions in capital letters to avoid medication mistakes.

In February, the MCI recommended to the Ministry of Health to make it compulsory for doctors to use block letters when writing names and dosages of drugs.

An MCI official said the recommendation was sent to the ministry keeping in mind the problems of drug store owners, pharmacists, attendants of patients and nurses.

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