Drugs in the making.com
Part 1 of this blog post asked two questions- Are you choosing your doctor correctly? Are you choosing your prescription/ OTC medicines correctly?
In order to take an informed decision one needs to obtain background information about your potential doctor, clinic, hospital, medicine (and pharmaceutical company that makes them). Here are few tips -
1. Check if the doctor's degrees are authentic:
With so many cases of degrees being forged and quacks running the hospital show, one needs to be sure, that the doctor who would potentially treat you is at least the medical expert he/she claims. An easy way is to check with medical colleges, city medical registry etc.
2. Surf internet about the doctor, clinic, hospital. Much information will be available (of course you need to screen wisely). Patients, caretakers, relatives post their experiences for the benefit of others. Phone or email them, try and source more information that will help you to decide.
3. Get a detailed quote about doctor’s fees, surgical procedures involved, time taken, hospital stay, approximate cost of medicines etc. Compare quotes and if there are major discrepancies, investigate deeper.
4. In cases where a clinic, hospital expect patients to take medicines, devices they give (and not buy from an outside pharmacy), doubly ensure authenticity of such medicines, devices. I’m aware of incidences where, stents picked up from the ashes of cremated angioplasty patients have been re-used by hospitals! Unbelievable and horrifying isn’t it?
5. Take a second opinion surrounding your diagnosis. Severe the ailment, more important the independent second or third opinion regarding diagnosis and line of therapy that is, prescribed medicines to be taken. (I do understand this costs money. But then it’s better safe than sorry).
6. Before buying the prescribed drug check if this medicine needs to be taken for life time. For example, blood pressure, diabetes medicines are to be taken lifelong. Check immediate and long term side effects of drugs. Importance reference points are-
Physician’s drug reference (PDR) available in your library or online.
FDA –Adverse events reporting website
Independent free internet sites:
Also, check if there are any reported interactions with other drugs that you might be taking.
7. Check who is the innovator company for this drug. Also, check which other companies are making and selling this drug in your country. Do price comparisons.
The innovator company as the name implies is the one who invented this drug and introduced in the market for the first time. The other companies sell generic versions of the drug. Both are supposed to be equally safe and effective (scientifically termed Bio or therapeutically equivalent) in patients. Whether to buy a drug product from an innovator or a generic is completely left to the patient’s discretion.
8. Check about the pharmaceutical company that manufactures and sells your medicine. Some companies don’t manufacture, instead they do contract manufacturing at other places and only sell medicines. The rules surrounding contract manufacturing, labeling vary in different countries. In certain cases this information is printed on the product label as “Manufactured by (name of the company) and marketed by (name of the company)”. In any event, this information is available for public reference at each country’s local FDA office.
Do an internet surf and check published reports, reviews about the company. An important point to note is whether the company has received 483 notices (i.e. notice of non-compliance to prescribed regulations) from FDA. This link gives free information about FDA inspection reports, observations and 483 notices to pharmaceuticals, devices, food companies http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/Inspections/ucm250720.htm#
Check if at any point of time de-barred from importing/ exporting into your country. Also, check what the company did to amend the case before their permission got re-approved.
9. Check with your pharmacy if they have received complaints about this product from other customers.
10. Check if your medicine has been dis-approved/ discontinued in any country, yet available and prescribed in your country.
My experience is that, good doctors usually appreciate when a patient takes interest in his/her well-being. Patient’s motivation certainly gives a big boost to a doctor’s therapy. Good doctors are happy to see their patient’s cured. So please discuss your drug research findings with them. Help them to help (treat) you. Your updates will also help other patients (with similar ailment).
Hope this information benefits you and your loved ones. Lastly before I sign-off on this note-
Yes, YOU as the patient have a right to choose both your doctor and the medicines you take.
Don’t be a meek patient and accept whatever is handed out to you.
Be vigilant and decisive. Get well soon… stay healthy, happy.
Disclaimer- Readers are advised to please note that, the information contained in this article is NOT a substitute for medical advice. It is intended to empower general public to understand the pharmaceutical world and consider ideas and alternatives while discussing their specific health scenario with medical and pharmaceutical professionals. Please discuss your specific scenario with a qualified Medical Doctor and ONLY follow health advice given by a qualified medical professional. Also, please note that each country has its own health care related regulation(s), readers are therefore expected to over-ride any information presented here to adhere to rules of their land.
Tags: #ShrutiBhat, #LeanInnovation, #TQM
Dr. Shruti Bhat
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Continuous Improvement and Business Transformation Consultant
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