Doctors at government-run hospitals in Rajasthan will now have to prescribe medicines by their generic names instead of a brand name, according to Health Minister Digambar Singh.
"We have issued a letter in this regard to all government medical colleges, hospitals, primary health centres, community health centres and dispensaries," Singh told IANS.
The doctors will have to prescribe the name of the salt, and not the brand names. Failure to do so would call for stern action, he said.
A separate letter has been sent to all regional commissioners and district collectors to chargesheet doctors not prescribing generic medicines. Chief medical and health officials have also been asked to identify doctors flouting the rule.
Similar directives have been issued several times in the past but failed to dissuade doctors from prescribing branded medicines.
Salts used in generic and branded medicines are the same and are used in the same proportions, but the branded medicines are generally costlier due to packaging and marketing expenses.
"Generic medicines are sometimes cheaper than branded medicines, but the active ingredient that produces the therapeutic effect of the medicine is the same in both," said a doctor here.
The treatment could become 40-50 percent cheaper with the use of the generic medicines, a health department official noted.
"Being a standard product, the quality of generic medicines is usually good.
But owing to monetary benefits, doctors do not follow the standard treatment guidelines in the state," he added.