You must know
generic name of drug prescribed

When your doctor prescribes medicines, does he write only the brand name, or does he write the generic name, or the chemical name of the drug, too?`A0 If`A0it is the former, then I would suggest that you ask for the generic name also.`A0

There are several reasons why you ought to know the generic name of the drug`A0being prescribed.`A0First and foremost, it helps in avoiding medication errors. Either because of the doctor’s illegible handwriting, or because of similar sounding`A0brand names, you may well end up with a wrong medication.

There have been many instances of`A0chemists making a mistake while reading the prescription and selling the wrong medication. Even when you order medicines over the telephone, such mistakes can occur. So knowing the chemical name helps eliminate such errors.

Second, you may be allergic to certain medicines and`A0from the brand name, you will not be able to identify the drug`A0that you are allergic to and avoid it. So it is imperative that you know the chemical name or the generic name, too.

Third, a particular brand of a drug, popular in one region, may not even be available in another part of the country. Sometimes chemists in`A0a city or town`A0do not even recognise the brand name prescribed by a doctor in another city. In such cases, you may even find it difficult to get a substitute, particularly while travelling. On the other hand, if you have the generic name, too, it becomes easier to find your medicine. `A0`A0

Fourth, generic drugs cost much less than the branded ones, and if you have the name of the generic drug, too, you can make your choice.`A0Besides, even among the brands,`A0prices of medicines vary, and in many cases, the difference in price could be quite substantial.`A0For example,`A0I found sometime ago that an antibiotic prescribed by a doctor cost Rs 240 for six capsules, while the same medication (the same strength) manufactured by another equally good pharmaceutical company cost Rs 72 for six.

It is for this reason that in May last year the Central Government instructed all hospitals and dispensaries to`A0prescribe as far as possible, only generic drugs and avoid brand names. Subsequently, several state governments have`A0issued similar instructions to hospitals run by them. Now the`A0government is looking at the possibility of giving consumers this choice in the private sector, too, and is contemplating ways of achieving it. `A0

Of course, there is already a mandate by the Indian Medical Council for prescription of generic names, too, by all medical professionals. The Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations 2002`A0says: "Every physician should, as far as possible, prescribe drugs with generic names and he/she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs." So you can ask the doctor to write down the generic name of the drug too, along with the brand name.

Remember, knowing the generic name protects your right to safety, right to information and the right to a fair price. It not only helps you avoid errors in the purchase of medication caused by similar sounding brand names, but also helps you buy the generic drug, or even among the branded ones, purchase the one that costs much less.`A0So once`A0you have the generic name,`A0you can ask`A0your chemist to give you price options. Today, with the click of a button, most chemists can give you the list of brand names along with their prices and also the pharmaceutical companies that make them.`A0If you go at a time where there is no great demand on his time by customers, he should be more than willing to help you out. However,`A0do make sure that there is no change in the strength of the medication prescribed by the doctor.