Should doctors be informed about every new drug introduction or ban?

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Recently‚ I attended the Partnership for Safe Medicine Board Meeting and this point came for discussion. The DCGI said that it is not in their mandate that Drug Controller Department needs to inform every doctor about banning or introduction of a new drug.

He said that it is the prerogative of MCI‚ which I feel is not correct. Internationally, FDA informs each and every doctor through a weekly or fortnightly news alert.

In India‚ the answer is very simple. Their needs to be a directive by the Health Ministry or by the MCI that every doctor registers his or her email in the Health Ministry website and through that website or through a direct email to every doctor‚ one can communicate about happenings in the field of drugs‚ whether introduction of new drugs or ban of drugs.

Today‚ when a drug is banned, no pharma company will inform and the doctor may come to know about ban after months. During this period he may keep on prescribing all the drugs and someday the media may do a sting operation that the doctors are not aware that the drug has been banned.

The Ministry says that they update the information in their website but the same is never done the same day and there is invariably a lag period between the drug ban and the updating of the website.

Similarly‚ when a new drug is introduced‚ it is the pharmaceutical companies who inform the doctors. Doctors ultimately become dependent on them for information regarding introduction of new drug and that is perceived in the society as a doctor-pharma nexus. If updated knowledge is provided by the Health Ministry‚ doctors will no more be dependent on pharma companies.