Wednesday 20 October 2021

Prescriptions must include the generic name of the drugs

Professionals can also include the trade name. Regulations will take effect 22 days after their publication in ‘La Gaceta’

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QCOSTARICA – Every prescription issued by professionals in medicine, dentistry and nursing in Costa Rica must bear the International Common Denomination of Drugs (DCI or INN: International Non-proprietary Name), that is, the generic name of the medicine.

Professionals can also include the trade name. Regulations will take effect 22 days after their publication in ‘La Gaceta’

This new decree, signed this October 4 by President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, and the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas Peraza, also allows indicating the commercial name of the drug they recommend, however, the pharmacists must inform the consumer about the existence of all the different options that correspond to the prescribed drug and inform them of the price of the alternatives.

Doctors, dentists and nurses will be able to prescribe medicines including also the commercial name. The decree that establishes it was signed on October 4.

Currently, there are 49 active principles in which the requirement to demonstrate therapeutic equivalence has been implemented and 73 more in the process of meeting the requirements.

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Ileana Herrera, head of the Records Unit of the Ministry of Health, said that consumers will be able to report if the doctor does not prescribe by generic name. They can also file a claim if the pharmacist does not offer the equivalent medicine available to them.

The Ministry of Health will receive complaints submitted to the nearest Health Governing Area, or to the email

The list of drugs approved as therapeutic equivalents is available on the Ministry of Health website, and will be updated with the new approvals.

Since the Ministry of Health began to promote this initiative, it explained that the intention of the decree was to provide people with a guide to learn about the drug options available in the market. Especially when health authorities approve two or more treatments as therapeutic equivalents, that is, when two products cause the same clinical effects and have the same safety profile as the original.

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