The Medical Council of India has repeated its order asking doctors to prescribe relatively cheaper generic medicine in legible handwriting wherever possible or risk facing penalties, PTI reported on Sunday. The directive follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that the government planned on introducing a law to ensure that doctors prescribe medicines by their generic names only.

The council ordered its members to immediately and strictly follow its 2016 notification which makes it compulsory for them to prescribe medicines by generic names instead of specific brands. It said the prescription should be written “preferably in capital letters”. “He/she shall ensure there is a rational prescription and use of drugs,” the order said. This was done following an amendment of a clause in the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002.

The Centre will soon expand the National List of Essential Medicines of 2015 and revamp its Jan Aushadhi programme, which provides essential medicines at affordable rates at specific outlets.