1. The format for prescriptions should be standardized and all the doctors must follow that.
2. The drug should be prescribed by the doctor authorized to do so. Competence of the doctor is particularly important in case of dangerous drugs such as psychotropic substances or chemotherapy drugs.
3. Ideally, the drugs should be prescribed by their pharmacological names and not by brand names.
If prescribed by brand names, the doctor must ensure that the name is spelt correctly and clearly to prevent mix-up between similar names of different drugs.
4. The name of the drug, the dosage, the route of administration, the frequency and duration should be written legibly and any precautions such as—to be diluted, to be given slowly over a period of 5 minutes, to be given before food / after food / empty stomach, etc. should be mentioned, clearly.
5. Every prescription should be timed/dated and signed/stamped by the doctor legibly so that the name of the doctor is easily understood.
6. In case of drugs known to cause allergy in some patients, especially the inject able drugs, the prescription should include the instruction “to be administered after sensitivity test.”
7. No unauthorized abbreviations should be used at all. Some of the abbreviations which should not be used as they are likely to cause confusion and lead to medication errors are given in.
8. Telephonic prescriptions should generally not be allowed except in emergency and in that situation also, the name of the drug should be spelt out clearly, confirmed by another person (nurse/doctor) and the prescription authenticated at the earliest by the doctor.
9. Outpatient prescriptions must include the full name and address of the doctor and his registration number should be clearly mentioned.