Chandigarh: Private psychiatrists can only prescribe buprenorphine to drug-dependants

Chandigarh: To check overcharging of drug-dependant patients for buprenorphine medicine by private psychiatrists, Punjab government has decided that private psychiatrists can only prescribe the medicine but it would be dispensed only from pharmacy of government de-addiction centre and Out Patient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) clinics. Noticing that government pharmacies were dispensing this medicine at “almost 1/6th of the amount charged by private de-addiction centres”, the government has decided that patients could now take buprenorphine medicine at Rs 60 per strip of 10 tablets from pharmacy of government de-addiction centres and OOAT clinics. The state government’s September 6 order, however, does not stop dispensing of buprenorphine medicine by private de-addiction centres. The state health and family welfare department has issued directions that all MD psychiatry specialists who wish to provide de-addiction treatment on OPD basis need to first register in the central registry online portal of OOAT. It has been ordered that the standard operating procedures for the private psychiatrists with regard to prescription of medicine will be same as is applicable to private de-addiction centres. “This system will allow private psychiatrists to provide de-addiction services on OPD basis and it will bring down out of pocket expenditure of patients to 1/6th,” reads the directions issued by the health and welfare department.

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