Physicians can only prescribe generic drugs, and must write the names of these drugs legibly, preferably in capital letters, a recent amendment to the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette, and Ethics) Regulation 2002 has said.

On October 8, the Medical Council of India amended the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette, and Ethics) Regulation 2002 to include this clause.

The clause also said that the physician should ensure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs.

Indian Medical Association president (elect), Ravi Wankhedkar told The Times of India that the notification has been circulated to all the local bodies of Indian Medical Association.

Violation of these codes of conduct is considered and decided before the Medical Council of India or State Medical Council.

The issue had cropped up in a Lok Sabha debate last year. the Union Health Minister JP Nadda had accepted the concerns and had said that illegible prescriptions could lead to serious implications, even deaths in certain cases, PTI reported.

Physicians prescribing only generic medicines, and not their brand names could help curb the unethical marketing practices, said the report. The rational use of drugs helps curb antimicrobial resistance in the community.

Rise in leprosy cases, 32 crore Indians screened

More than 32 crore people across 19 states in the country were screened for leprosy during a recent drive.

From 14 September to October 4, the National Leprosy Elimination Programme under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare conducted the programme to look for undetected cases of leprosy in 149 districts where there was an active transmission of the condition.

For the past three years, these districts have recorded more than one case per 10,000 population. The country eliminated leprosy by bringing down the prevalence of the disease to less than one case per 10,000 population in 2005. However, some regions, such as the adivasi-dominated Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, was unable to achieve elimination.

The mega screening for active case detection by India was an effort by the country to achieve eradication. Experts said that the goal of eradication is ambitious as the current crop of health care staff doesn't not have enough training to recognise early signs of the disease. The incubation period of the disease can be as long as 10 years and the symptoms can easily be missed. The biggest challenge is to avert disability as it is irreversible in most cases, said doctors.

A marginal rise was reported in new leprosy cases in India between 2014 and 2015. Last year, 12,7326 cases were detected as against 12,5785 in 2015. With the active case detection campaign, the number of new cases is expected to rise further

Instagram tools to help people at risk of suicide or self harm

This week, Social networking app, Instagram started its new reporting tool to allow users anonymously flag friend’s posts about self-harm, reported. Instagram, in turn, will message the user in question, offering support, including tips as well as access to a help line.

The photo sharing app said that it has partnerships with over 40 helpline organisations around the world, including AASRA and The Live Love Laugh Foundation in India.

Self harm is the biggest killer among the adolescent and youth between the ages of 15-24 years in India, a Lancet study said. It caused 60,000 deaths annually in that age group.