DHAKA -- Taking exception to doctors' sloppy handwriting, a top Bangladeshi court has ordered them to write easy-to-read prescriptions in block letters or type them to prevent wrong medicines being issued to patients.
The High Court asked the government to issue a circular in this regard among the country's doctors within 30 days.
The health secretary and Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council's registrar will have to carry out the order. They will also have to inform the court about their progress within six weeks, the Dhaka Tribune reported.
The court yesterday also issued a ruling asking as to why the doctors should not be directed to mention generic names of medicines in prescriptions.
A bench comprising Justice Naima Haider and Justice Abu Taher Md Saifur Rahman issued the order after holding a primary hearing over a writ petition.
The Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) moved the court with the writ petition on January 2, highlighting the difficulties faced by patients due to illegible prescriptions.
HRPB counsel Manzill Murshid said: "Sometimes even employees at drug stores fail to read prescriptions and give wrong medicines to the patients."
Some doctors specify medicines produced by particular companies. They write the brand names instead of the generic names, knowingly favouring certain companies.
Some media reports said there is a tacit understanding between these doctors and the pharmaceutical companies. The practice leads to patients buying expensive medicines where cheaper alternatives are available, or buy less potent medicines instead of more effective drugs.
Murshid said the practice of listing the brand names reduces the customers' liberty to choose their medicine at their convenience.
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