Compliance with good practice in prescription writing at outpatient clinics in Saudi Arabia

East Mediterr Health J. 2005 Sep-Nov;11(5-6):922-8.


A sample of prescription orders received from outpatient departments by a hospital pharmacy in Asir, Saudi Arabia, were analysed over 1 year for the essential elements of prescriptions. The prescriber's name, address and signature were on 83.3%, 9.6% and 81.9% of prescriptions respecti-vely. The patient's name, age and sex were on 94.6%, 77.3% and 51.3%. No prescription contained the patient's address and weight. Generic drug names were used in only 15.1% and strength of medication and dose units were included in 26.6% and 55.6% of prescriptions. Most prescriptions (94.0%) had no quantity indicated and had only partial instructions for patient use (90.7%); the diagnosis was included in about two-thirds. The prescriber's handwriting was illegible in 64.3% of prescriptions. Measures to improve the situation are suggested.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / standards*
  • Benchmarking / standards*
  • Documentation / standards
  • Drug Prescriptions / standards*
  • Drug Utilization Review
  • Drugs, Generic / therapeutic use
  • Education, Medical / standards
  • Guideline Adherence / standards*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control
  • Medication Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Saudi Arabia


  • Drugs, Generic