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Shocking revelation of ICMR study :

45% of India’s doctors are handing ‘incomplete’ prescriptions

New Delhi : The study conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to ascertain the accuracy of the prescription written by medical professionals in top medical institutions has revealed that upto 45% of the prescriptions were incomplete and incorrect. This has shocked the medical fraternity across the country over the conduct of medical professionals sitting in top institutes while writing prescriptions which may have seriously compromised patients’ treatment and their safety. Even bigger concern that came to light is that 10 percent of the total prescriptions studied were found having “unacceptable deviations” such as inappropriate prescription of medications or more than one diagnosis.

The year-long research study of ICMR has been published in Indian Journal of Medical Research titled ‘Evaluation of prescriptions from tertiary care hospitals across India for deviations from treatment guidelines & their potential consequences”. The study was conducted at 13 medical institutions including Delhi AIIMS and Safdarjung hospital, Delhi between 2019 and 2020 in the outpatient departments of tertiary care hospitals in wherein the 13 ICMR Rational Use of Medicines Centres are located.

The ICMR cited the methodology of conducting the survey, the IJMR report said, “Prescriptions not compliant with the standard treatment guidelines and incomplete prescriptions with respect to formulation, dose, duration and frequency were labelled as ‘prescriptions having deviations’. A deviation that could result in a drug interaction, lack of response, increased cost, preventable adverse drug reaction (ADR) and/or antimicrobial resistance was labelled as an unacceptable deviation.”

The report further said that a total of 7,800 patients’ prescriptions were taken from these hospitals out of which, 4,838 were examined and later, deficiencies were found in 2,171 prescriptions. The extremely serious concern was with respect to 475 prescriptions i.e. approximately 10% of the prescriptions that were found to be completely wrong. In these 475 prescriptions 102 had stated more than one diagnosis and in some of them drugs were prescribed inappropriately, the report finding stated.

Another astonishing fact that came to light was that the doctors giving faulty or incomplete prescriptions were not fresher’s but had considerable years of experience in practicing medicine. “All the prescribers were postgraduates in their respective disciplines and on average were in practice for 4-18 years. For patients with pain as a presenting symptom, analgesics were co-prescribed with pantoprazole. Gastro-protective drugs are to be prescribed if the patient has a risk of developing peptic ulcer. Unnecessary prescribing of pantoprazole may lead to potential side effects such as abdominal bloating, oedema and rash,” the report added.

Complete Prescription2968
Incomplete Prescription – In terms of Dose1226
Incomplete Prescription – In terms of Duration772
Incomplete Prescription – In terms of Frequency566
Incomplete Prescription – In terms of Formulation460