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Linking Aadhaar with doctors, pharmacies to weed out quacks

Monday, 20 November 2017

Even as a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is set to hear a bunch of petitions challenging mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phone connections, Andhra Pradesh plans to link the unique identification number with doctors and pharmacies in an effort to root out quacks, self-medication, and over-the-counter sale of medicines.

The measure, the N Chandrababu Naidu government claims, will also create an online health record of citizens.
The state is set to launch Comprehensive Drug Monitoring System (CDMS), an app that all registered doctors have to use to generate e-prescriptions mentioning the patient’s name, mobile or Aadhaar number, medicines advised, and the manufacturer’s name.

When a doctor makes a digital signature on the app, the patient will receive a One Time Password on the cellphone, which he/she has to show at the pharmacy to buy medicines. When the pharmacist enters the OTP, he/she will see the prescription and sell those medicines.

According to Director, Drugs Control, M B R Prasad, CDMS will weed out unlicensed doctors as well as quacks. “Only doctors registered with the Medical Council of India’s AP chapter would be able to access the app and generate e-prescriptions. Only pharmacists registered with the Pharmacists’ Council would be able to access it.”
According to officials, people without mobile phones have to show their Aadhaar card and the number would be fed into the CDMS by the pharmacy. The app will host details of 65,000 registered doctors and over 30,000 licensed pharmacies, they said.

Across-the-counter sale of medicines will be permitted in areas without mobile connectivity. The web-based application and mobile app are being developed by AP Drugs Control Administration and are the brainchild of Dr A Ravishankar, D-G, Drugs Control Administration.

State Medical Council chairman Dr Y Raja Rao said that besides addressing the issue of fake doctors and quacks, e-prescriptions will also help regulate excessive prescription of antibiotics. “Every other doctor these days prescribes a lot of antibiotics, which is resulting in many people developing resistance to them…. These need to be regulated, and this system will help.”

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