Abu Faour shows Salam a sample Unified Prescription Form at the launching of the unified prescription form at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The unified prescription form, which makes it easier for Lebanese patients to access inexpensive medicine, was launched Tuesday in what Prime Minister Tammam Salam called a "great national achievement".In Europe and the West, however, inexpensive generic drugs make up more than 80 percent of all drugs sold.The new unified prescription form, which will become fully operational in mid-July, will allow patients, with their doctors' permission, to purchase generic medication for their maladies. Head of Parliament's Public Health Committee MP Atef Majdalani, who has lobbied for the unified prescription form, said that in Lebanon generic drugs are 30 to 40 percent cheaper than brand-name drugs. While the law approving a unified prescription form, which gives patients more leeway to opt for generic medication, was approved in 2011, it stalled before it could be implemented.Abu Faour said that wider accessibility to cheaper drugs would help ensure that more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees in the country are able to buy medication.
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