TikTok creator-pharmacist Arshie Larga backs calls for readable doctor’s prescriptions

January 12, 2024 - 5:36 PM
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Arshie Larga_doctor prescription
Pharmacist Arshie Larga in this screengrab of a video posted on his X account on Jan. 11, 2024; Graphic of a doctor's prescription in this image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay (Arshiethromycin/Twitter; Mohamed_hassan/Pixabay)

Pharmacist and content creator Arshie Larga is in favor of online calls for physicians to write legible medical prescriptions after a social media user asked him to read one due to its perceived illegibility.

The pharmacist on Thursday responded to a TikTok user who asked what they can do if the physician’s penmanship cannot be read.

“Anong pwedeng gawin kung ‘di talaga mabasa ang sulat ng doctor sa reseta?” the question reads.

Arshie said that as a pharmacist, he still tries to read the handwriting as much as possible.

However, if he still finds it illegible, he will return the prescription to the physician to clarify or for them to make their handwriting readable.

If there is an available contact number in the prescription, Archie said that pharmacists could also call the doctor to clarify the order.

The content creator also said that as a pharmacist, he will not dispense anything if he cannot understand the prescription.

“Bilang pharmacist, kapag nag-dispense po kami ng gamot, na hindi naman kami sigurado at may mangyaring masama dun sa customer or pasyente na iinom ng gamot, kanino po ang sisi? Sa amin po. Kasi bakit ka magdi-dispense ng isang gamot na hindi ka naman pala sigurado,” Arshie said.

The pharmacist said such situations could be remedied by the physicians fixing their penmanship or making their handwriting legible, adding that it does not have to be super beautiful.

Arshie said another suggestion is to print the prescriptions if the physician has a printer available.

“Mas maganda po na hindi lang pharmacists ang mga nakakaintindi ng nakasulat sa reseta, dapat din po, lalo, ‘yung mga pasyenteng umiinom ng gamot nito,” he concluded.

On January 9, Arshie also answered another question about pharmacists reading physicians’ prescriptions.

He said that while they do not study doctors’ handwriting in pharmacy schools, they familiarize themselves with different information about medicines.

The content creator said that while they can attempt to understand the handwriting, it is still best to have legible penmanship so they can properly dispense the prescribed medicines.

Arshie also said that it would also help patients take note of how often they should be taking the medicines to get better.

Talks about medical prescriptions began when a user on the X (formerly Twitter) platform asked him to read a prescription.

“Hello po, @Arshiethromycin. P’wede po pa help? Hindi ko po kasi masyadong narinig si doc,” the user wrote on January 5.

Arshie obliged and responded by typing out the needed medicines and their frequencies.

Their exchange opened a discussion on the platform about prescription legibility, with some physicians agreeing on the matter.

“Para sa mga kabaro: Walang excuse sa hindi maintindihang reseta. Kung pangit ang sulat, i-type at i-print. ‘Yung good compliance to medication ay galing sa maayos na pagpapaliwanag ng gamot at kung para saan ito,” a doctor on the X platform said.

“Para sa Pasyente: Huwag mahiyang magtanong [or] clarify,” he added.

Another physician shared the advantages of having the prescriptions printed.

“Printed prescriptions will definitely help our patients know and understand their medications. This also decreases medication errors and adverse outcomes,” he said.

“Having a reliable electronic record plus prescriptions also saves time and energy, making everything more efficient,” the doctor added.

Another physician said she “hates seeing” illegible prescriptions.

“I make sure my prescriptions are neat and legible for my patients. I even explain twice the prescription to make sure my patient understands it. Nakakairita makita mga ganitong reseta,” she said in response to the prescription a user asked Arshie to read.

A study published by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) notes that the “majority of the poor handwriting of doctors is attributed to the times when doctors are in a rush when writing prescriptions, during their rounds or peak hours, or when they experienced fatigue.”

Meanwhile, this was not the first time the issue became a talked-about topic on the X platform.

In 2019, an online user asked his brother — who is a pharmacist — to decode an illegible doctor’s handwriting.

RELATED: Pharmacist manages to decode illegible doctor’s prescription in viral image