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MCI asks doctors to write drug prescription in full capital letters
Doctors scribbling on prescription will soon be a thing of past, as the Medical Council of India (MCI) has approved a draft notification that directs the doctor to write the drug prescription in full capital letters and has forwarded the draft to the Health Ministry for endorsement.
This decision was taken by the MCI after receiving numerous complaints on drugs with similar names being misread. Even a single letter change could lead to medical errors. For example:

Azoo – Azithromycin (an antibiotic)
Azox – Alprazolam (an anti-anxiety drug)

Celin – Vitamin C
Celib – Celecoxib (for arthritis)

Erox – Amoxicillin (an antibiotic)
Erix – Sidenafil citrate (a drug for sexual dysfunction)

Flunil – Fluoxetine (an anti-depressant)
Flunit – Flunarizin (a drug used to prevent migraine)

Malaquin – Chloroquine (an anti-malarial)
Mahaquin – Lomefloxacin (an antibiotic)

The similarities in some brand names are shocking, a minor mistake in legibility on a prescription by a doctor or a careless reading of the prescription by a dispensing pharmacist may cause serious harm to patients. Hence, a prescription should be understandable to the pharmacist, which will help in dispensing the right medication.

Commenting on this move Dr. Debangshu Dam, a General Physician based in Gurgaon, said, “Its a good decision taken by the MCI, and I completely agree with it. It will ensure that the doctor writes the correct spelling of the drug, usually doctors write a wrong spelling and the pharmacist gives a second guess, which lands up giving a wrong medication to the patient.”

Though the prescription writing habit is changing worldwide, almost one-third of the prescriptions are becoming electronic, but a large proportion in India still use the written prescriptions format and hence writing in capital letters would be a better option for doctors here.

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