#Legal Sense

Patient’s right to information

By Funmilayo Olagunju


Several years ago, medical drug prescription was enveloped in a cloud of mystery. Prescribed drugs were removed from their packets and placed in an unbranded satchets to conceal its identity. The patient hardly know the drug being administered and is simply using the unknown drug based on trust.

In recent time, the position of the law is that a patient is entitled to know the nature of treatment being administered to him or her. Patient’s right to information demands that a health care provider gives disclosure as to details and side-effect of any prescription to the patient.

Section 24 of the National Health Act, 2014 provides:

(1) Every health care provider shall give a user relevant information pertaining to his state of health and necessary treatment relating to-

(a) the user’s health status except in circumstances where there is substantial evidence that the disclosure of the user’s health status would be contrary to the best interests of the user;

(b) the range of diagnostic procedures and treatment options generally available to the user;

(c) the benefits, risks, costs and consequences generally associated with each option; and

(d) the user’s right to refuse health services and explain the implications, risks or obligations of such refusal.

(2) The health care provider concerned shall, where possible, inform the user in a language that the user understands and in a manner which takes into account the user’s level of literacy.

Having full knowledge of prescription also helps the patient to carry out basic diligence to confirm the authenticity of the drug. A good number of drugs now have confirmation code on the packet.

It is in the best interest of every patient not to abuse the information about details of prescribed drugs by succumbing to self-medication when they experience a similar symptom in the future.

Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.

Patient’s right to information

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