Don’t hide generic drugs’ names, medics told

What you need to know:

The Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Faustine Ndugulie has revealed that pharmaceutical companies are enticing doctors to prescribe drugs for business interests.

Dar es Salaam. Medical practitioners in public hospitals have been urged to stick to the national treatment guidelines and ensure they prescribe medicine to patients using generic names and not brand (trade) names.

The deputy minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Faustine Ndugulile, said he was aware of pharmaceutical firms that bribed doctors in public hospitals to prescribe medicines that they manufactured, contrary to ethics. Dr Ndugulile said this yesterday during a supply chain summit organised by the Global Health Supply Chain Tanzania, in collaboration with stakeholders including USaid, the Access and Delivery Partnership, UNFPA and World Food Programme (WFP).

“Prescribing medicine to patients using brand names promotes businesses of certain pharmaceutical firms. This is strictly prohibited,” he warned.

He directed permanent secretaries in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) and the ministry of Health to ensure standard treatment guadlines were distributed across the country and that they were strictly followed by all practicing medics. “Doctors and pharmacists in public hospitals should also ensure they prepare and release a list of available drugs at the beginning of every week,” he said.

“Prescription should be done according to the list released and not otherwise,” he emphasised.

Dr Ndugulile called for linkage of integrated logistics systems among government institutions including the ministry of Health, Regional Administration, the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), the Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) and the Medical Stores Department (MSD). He said this would enable MSD to make proper planning and logistics of delivery of drugs and medical equipment in various parts of the country.

“You should develop quality data and respective system of management. This meeting should come up with measures to develop revolving funds for drugs in order to make the service sustainable,” he said.

Earlier, the deputy permanent secretary in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local government, Dr Zainabu Chaula, said citizens were complaining of drug shortage in various parts of the country because key players were not properly fulfilling their responsibilities.

“Let’s work hard together to serve our people because our efficiency will be measured by the way citizens are satisfied,” she said.

According to her, there were 8,700 logistics stakeholders working without being recognised by the government.

Earlier, THSC summit chairman Mavere Tukai said 200 participants including the government, representatives, development and implementing partners, medicine and medical equipment wholesalers and representatives of pharmaceutical companies were attending the meeting.

He said the summit focused on three key areas: high quality childhood, good governance competitive economy, developing mindset and empowering culture and competences and competitiveness.

“The summit focuses on several key areas including supply chain performance, use of data to improve supply chain performance, financing and resource mobilisation and innovative approaches to support supply chain,” he said.