Health Minister Wael Abu Faour held a press conference on H1N1 virus in Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb.10, 2016. (The Daily Star/ Mohammad Azakir)
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One of the primary purposes for introducing the forms by Health Minister Wael Abu Faour was to improve the public's access to cheap generic substitutes for more expensive branded drugs. But those able to visit the doctor often find that they have less choice over the medications they use as many doctors are filling out prescriptions that prevent patients from purchasing a generic alternative. "The pharmacist has no role on the patient [anymore]," a pharmacist told The Daily Star. Various pharmacists confirmed that nearly 80 percent of the prescriptions they receive carry the initials NS, denoting no substitute could be swapped for the drug written. One pharmacist even advised that the Health Ministry should introduce a quota on the amount of times a doctor can refuse a substitute for the drug they prescribe, a practice that many claim is in force in other countries with a similar prescription model.
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