The Orissa high court issued an advisory to doctors to prescribe drugs in legible handwriting by observing that “the physician community at large must walk an extra mile and make conscious efforts to write prescriptions in good handwriting, preferably in capital letters”.

Justice SK Panigrahi while hearing the bail plea of a man accused of drug peddling observed that drugs and dosages prescribed by doctors in both the government and private hospitals should be in capital letters.

Krushna Pada Mandal booked under NDPS Act had sought for bail to take care of his ailing wife. However the medial documents and prescription furnished with the court to corroborate the proof of illness were illegible.

“A medical prescription oughtn’t to leave any room for ambiguity or interpretation. The physician working in government or private or other medical set-ups are suggested to write the name of drugs in capital or in a legible manner. The capital letters could perhaps ensure a proper visibility to the prescriptions and will remove the guesswork and related inconveniences completely. Better handwriting will help in easily deciphering the names of the drugs, doses, strength, frequency etc. with much ease”.

“There could be some good justifications for such sloppy handwriting and the prominent one could be the relative heavy work pressure, long working hours, symptoms like writer’s cramp etc.due to adverse patient-doctor ratio in the country, more especially, in the State like Odisha”.

The digital era could also throw open several options to make prescriptions and the diagnosis more patient-friendly,” Justice Panigrahi said while granting bail to the accused.

The illegible handwriting in medical records has the propensity to have adverse medico-legal implications; the court said issuing advisory to doctors.