Not only doctors, Pharmacists too have a role in ethical dispensing of prescription medicines. Safe and effective use of medicines is a complementary effort.
MCI Code of Medical Ethics ( Indian Medical Council (Professional conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 and subsequent amendments) has some provisions in it that are of relevance to the pharmacists.
Regulation 5.3 states that physicians should recognize and promote the practice of pharmacy as profession and should seek their cooperation wherever required.
According to Regulation 3.7.1, a doctor’s prescription should also make clear if he/she has himself or herself dispensed any medicine to the patient.
Regulation 7.10 states that a registered medical practitioner shall not issue certificates of efficiency in modern medicine to any unqualified or non-medical person but he/she can issue such certificates to dispensers after proper training.
No physician, as per Regulation 6.3, can run an open shop for sale of medicine for dispensing prescriptions prescribed by other doctors or for sale of medical or surgical appliances. Drugs prescribed by a physician or brought from the market for a patient should explicitly state the proprietary formulae as well as generic name of the drug.
Regulation 1.5 stipulates that as far as possible, drugs should be prescribed with generic names. Every doctor should make sure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs.
A Pharmacist should be aware that it is improper for a doctor to affix his/her signboard at a pharmacist’s shop. This is as per Regulation 7.13.
Regulation 7.19 does not allow doctors to use touts or agents for procuring patients. So, a pharmacist should not indulge in such activities.
A pharmacist should know that according to Regulation 1.1.3, no person other than a doctor who holds qualification/s that are duly recognized by MCI and is registered with MCI or State Medical Council can practice allopathic medicine. A practitioner of other systems of medicine cannot practice allopathic medicine. A pharmacist cannot practice and prescribe drugs.
Regulation 1.4.1 requires that every prescription should carry the registration number of the prescribing doctor. The pharmacist should check every prescription he comes across while dispensing medicines.
A pharmacist should also know that according to Regulation 1.4.2, doctors can add as suffixes only those degrees/ certificates/diplomas that are recognized by the regulatory bodies or those memberships/honours which confer professional knowledge or recognizes any exemplary qualification/achievements.
Regulation 1.9 requires all doctors to abide by the laws of country that regulate the practice of medicine and also follow the provisions of State Acts like Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940; Pharmacy Act, 1948; Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances Act, 1985; Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954. Neither the doctor nor the pharmacist should be a party to helping others evade these laws.
A pharmacist should check that all the drugs prescribed by a physician are carrying a proprietary formula and clear name. Regulation 6.5 prohibits dispensing of secret remedial agents by doctors whose composition they do not know. This regulation also considers their manufacture or promotion of their use as unethical.
According to Regulation 6.7, practising euthanasia is regarded as unethical conduct for the doctor. The pharmacist has a responsibility to check that every prescription is ethical.
As per Regulation 7.20, a Physician shall not claim to be specialist unless he has a special qualification in that branch.
As per Regulation 7.3 not displaying the registration number accorded to a physician by the State Medical Council or the Medical Council of India in his or her prescriptions violates the provisions of MCI regulation 1.4.2.
As per Regulation 7.8 a registered medical practitioner shall not contravene the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and regulations made there under. Accordingly, Prescribing steroids/ psychotropic drugs when there is no absolute medical indication and or selling Schedule ‘H’ & ‘L’ drugs and poisons to the public except to his patient shall constitute gross professional misconduct on the part of the physician.