Docs urged to write generic names

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Health Minister, Prof. Channa Jayasumana, urged doctors to write their prescriptions using generic names rather than drug brands owing to the existing medicines shortage.

Briefing the media, at the Government Information Department, on Friday (6), Minister Prof. Jayasumana said that at present there was a shortage of well-known syrup brands which are prescribed for children. Should the brand name that is unavailable be written, the patient or the relatives of the patient assume that the drug itself is unavailable at the pharmacy. However, if the generic name of the particular drug is written the patient would be able to obtain the drug according to his or her prescription.

He noted that the National Regulatory Authority Act would be amended in this regard in the near future. “But this is not the time to be carrying out amendments to Parliamentary Acts. Therefore, I appeal to medical practitioners to use the drug generic in their prescriptions,” he said.

Prof. Jayasumana said the country had been received 106 drug types from 1 April 2022 till date through the letters of credit which had been opened. It takes at least 90 days, even if they start manufacturing the drug after Sri Lanka is able to open the letters credit. Citing an example, he said the Health Ministry had been able to procure ‘Tenecteplase’ a patented drug prescribed for heart patients, two weeks after opening LCs. Also, the Ministry would be able to procure the Anti Rabies Serum which is in short supply within the next 20 days, he reassured.          

By Dilanthi Jayamanne