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Pharmacists Protest at Jantar Mantar

A protest was held at Jantar Mantar on 29 November, 2019 by Indian Pharmacist Association (IPA) with all the pharmacists associations of India against Schedule K amendment in Drugs and Cosmetic Rules 1945. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is amending Schedule K of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules 1945 against serial number 23, for the entries under the column “Class of Drugs”, where following are going to be substituted, namely : - “Drugs supplied by (i) Health functionaries including Community Health Officers, Nurses, Auxiliary Nurse Midwives and Lady Health Visitors attached to Primary Health Centres/ Sub-centres/ Health & Wellness Centres in rural and urban areas, (ii) Community Health Volunteers such as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) under the National Health Mission, and (iii) Anganwadi Workers.”
According to Bhupendra Kumar, General Secretrary of Indian Pharmacist Association " Members of Drugs and Technical Advisory Board and Pharmacy Council of India with Satate Pharmacy Councils are also objecting the amendment. Rule 123 of Drugs and Cosmetic Act exempt only drugs specified in Schedule K from the provisions of Chapter IV of the Act and the Rules made thereunder. No exemption is given to any person other than a Registered Pharmacist. Therefore, serial number 23 under the column “Class of Drugs” under the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945 is ILLEGAL and UNETHICAL and need to be deleted completely."

Kumar added " According to Section 42 of Pharmacy Act, 1948, “No person other than a registered pharmacist shall compound, prepare, mix or dispense any medicine on the prescription of a medical practitioner. Whoever contravenes the provisions shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six month or with fine or with both. These amendments will not only violate Drugs and Cosmetic Act, Pharmacy Act but also Article 16, Article 21 and Article 47 of Indian Constitution."

Pharmacists practices the profession of pharmacy and a Registered Pharmacist review the patient record and each prescription presented for supply for the purpose of promoting therapeutic appropriateness by identifying: Over utilization or under-utilization of any medicine, Therapeutic duplications, Drug-disease interactions, Drug-drug interactions, Incorrect drug dosage or duration of drug treatment, Hypersensitivity to any drug, Correlation of availability of drugs (to avoid artificial shortage of drugs), Clinical abuse/misuse. Pharmacists plays important role in promotion of rational use of drugs. Pharmacists helps patients in understanding the proper use of a medicine and precaution taken. Pharmacists have theoretical and practical knowledge of Biochemistry, pharmacology, pathophysiology, therapeutics etc. necessary for treating patients.

National Health Policy 2017 suggested for including pharmacists also for developing mid-level practitioners for rural areas i.e. Community Health Officer. But sadly, Health Ministry issued necessary orders for Nurses and Ayush doctors only, despite the fact that Pharmacists are more competent than other categories as mentioned in National Health Policy, 2017. And once again Govt. is trying to deprive them with their fundamental right to practice their profession for earning their livelihood.




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