Prescribing patterns in primary and secondary level government health facilities in a district of Assam: a cross sectional study

Dakshadhwari Upadhyay, Rashmi Ahmed, Rupali Baruah, Manjit Boruah


Background: Indian markets are flooded with more than 100,000 formulations, compared to approximately 350 formulations listed in the World Health Organization (WHO) essential drug list. To promote rational drug use in developing countries, assessment of drug use patterns with the WHO drug use indicators is becoming increasingly necessary. This study was conducted to study the prescribing patterns using WHO prescribing indicators in government healthcare facilities in a district of Assam.

Methods: This was a cross sectional study carried out from July to September 2017. Out of total 4 blocks in Tinsukia district one (Ketetong) was randomly selected. All the primary and secondary level government health facilities were included and visited one by one. All the prescriptions on that day of visit were digitally photographed at the pharmacy of the health institution after taking written informed consent from the patient. A total of 353 prescriptions were scrutinized and analyzed using appropriate statistical tests.

Results: Out of total 353 prescriptions collected, 11 were illegible and excluded from the analysis. The average number of drugs per encounter was 3.8. In 62.3% of encounters antibiotics were prescribed and injections were prescribed in 30.1% encounters. 71.8% drugs were prescribed by generic name and 56.2% drugs were prescribed from the essential drug list (EDL).

Conclusions: The average number of drugs, percentage of injections and antibiotics per encounter was higher than recommended whereas prescription by generic name and from EDL or formulary was lower than recommended. Training of healthcare workers on rational drug use is need of the hour.


Prescription audit, Rational drug use, WHO prescribing indicators

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