September 19, 2010

New medical policy to ensure docs don’t over-drug patients

The government is soon going to chart out a National Standard Treatment Policy to ensure doctors use optimum medical procedures and prescribe limited drugs so that patients are neither overcharged nor over-drugged during treatment.

The government is likely to notify the policy under the Clinical Establishments Bill. The policy is being framed in consultation with the states.

Once the policy is in place, more than 2,000 medical conditions will be streamlined. However, to begin with, 20 to 30 prevalent morbidity conditions will be standardised at various levels of healthcare.

“Presently, different doctors use various medicines and measures for treatment and hospitals charge different rates for same the treatment. This cannot go on. There has to be some standardisation for which we are formulating this policy,” health secretary K Sujatha Rao said.

Dr Ranjit Roy Chowdhary, a leading clinical pharmacologist, who is part of the policy making team, said, “A disease can be treated in various ways and by using a variety of medicines. We plan to standardise this practice so that doctors use limited number of drugs which are cheaper and of good quality as well as follow a laid down procedure during treatment. This is important for better therapeutic effect and lesser side effects.”

Standard treatment guidelines are in place for cancer and cardiovascular diseases, he said.

The policy will reduce the cost of treatment since doctors will not be allowed to use unnecessary combinations of drugs for treatment, Dr Roy Chowdhary said.

“This policy will also be important for the health insurance sector which recently faced a lot of problems due to the lack of rationalisation of rates and standardisation of treatments,” the health secretary said.

The policy will also safeguard doctors.

“If a patient dies due to a drug which is not as per the schedule that we give, he/she can be in trouble. But for those who follow the policy, there will be a ring of protection since the medicines and treatments were as per standard policy prepared by experts from across the country,” Dr Roy Chowdhary said.

Link: Original Article

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