PPA for reversal of directive limiting doctors' prescription of multivitamins

Press Release 09:24 AM, 21 Feb, 2024
PPA for reversal of directive limiting doctors' prescription of multivitamins

KARACHI: The Pakistan Pediatric Association (PPA) has formally appealed to the federal health minister, health secretary, and director general health, seeking the withdrawal of an official directive that restricts doctors from prescribing multivitamins and essential nutrients to deserving patients, particularly anemic children and women of reproductive age.

In a recent communication, PPA President Prof. Syed Jamal Raza and Secretary General Dr. Muhammad Khalid Shafi strongly advocated for the reconsideration of the blanket prohibition imposed on physicians from all specialties regarding the prescription of multivitamins, minerals, and food supplements.

The association emphasized the global standard where the discretion to prescribe medicines lies with registered medical practitioners, asserting that such directives lack scientific justification.

Dr Raza and Dr Shafi emphasized the importance of addressing patient needs and diagnoses, which are fundamental to medical practice worldwide. They cautioned against the potential exacerbation of health disparities, particularly among vulnerable populations, if the current directives are upheld.

The PPA also raised objections to the permission to pharmacists, who may lack medical expertise, to exclusively prescribe or recommend multivitamins and nutrients. Concerns were expressed regarding the potential risks to patient safety posed by empowering non-medical personnel with such responsibilities.

Citing data on prevalent macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies, including iron deficiency anemia in children, as well as deficiencies in Vitamins A, D, and zinc, the association stressed the necessity of specific medical interventions. They highlighted the inadequacy of pharmacist training to effectively diagnose nuanced nutritional deficiencies.

The PPA affirmed its dedication to promoting rational drug use, particularly concerning antibiotics, through guideline development and professional training. While acknowledging the importance of prudent medication practices, the association reiterated its support for initiatives aimed at curbing irrational drug usage within the medical community, thereby contributing to a safer healthcare environment in Pakistan.