MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Residents and pharmacists in northern Balkh province claim some private hospitals and doctors are fleecing patients by encoding prescriptions.
They insist doctors must consider people’s poor economic situation and avoid writing cipher-based prescriptions of medicines.
A resident of Mazar-i-Sharif city, Farshid, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “We witness cipher-based prescriptions every time we visit physicians at private hospitals. Such prescriptions can only be read by pharmacists linked to the same hospital while pharmacists of other drugstores or hospitals cannot understand or read them. By using this trick, some opportunists force patients to pay extra money.”
Some doctors fleece patients by using this trick, he said.
Faridon, another resident of Mazar-i-Sharif, said the ‘blind prescriptions’ were aimed at making extra profit while the people were grappling with economic problems.
“Residents of districts sell their agricultural products to take their patients to private hospitals and cipher-based prescriptions drag them back to the same hospital”.
He said if prescriptions were written in a clearly or computerized manner, it would be easy for relatives of patients to purchase medicines without any problems in nearby pharmacies.
A pharmacist in Mazar-i-Sharif, Akbar Shah, says doctors write coded prescriptions to serve their own interest and to force patients to buy medicines from the same drugstores.
He added most pharmacists could not read cipher-based prescriptions and sometimes they mistakenly gave wrong medicines to patients, which double their problems.
A medicine sold for 1,500 afs in pharmacies of private doctors is sold for 800 afs in public pharmacies, Ahmadi said.
Another pharmacist Samiullah Poya made similar remarks and said some doctors not only in Balkh but in other provinces and even in capital Kabul wrote coded prescriptions.
He urged the government to prevent doctors from this practice.
Pajhwok tried to ask some doctors in this regard, but no one was ready to be interviewed.
While medical law enforcement department head Dr. Javed Seraji assured that the government would prevent cipher-based prescriptions.
“Such doctors must refrain from writing prescriptions in cipher or they will face legal consequences”, he said.
During the past one and a half years, clinics of about 50 doctors were sealed over writing prescriptions in cipher.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has banned writing prescriptions in codes and declared the practice illegal.