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P A Francis
Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Centre notified Pharmacy Practice Regulations in January 2015 for enhancing the practice of pharmacy profession in the country. The notification was the first serious attempt by the government to bring comprehensive changes to the outdated provisions in the laws and rules currently governing the pharmacy practice. The pharmacy profession is regulated by two statutes namely the Pharmacy Act and the Drugs & Cosmetics Act introduced by the government several decades ago. The intention of PPR 2015 was to lay down a uniform code of pharmacy ethics, responsibilities of pharmacist towards patients, role of a community pharmacist, etc. But, these Regulations remained largely unimplemented in the country even after 2 years as most of the states have not adopted the Rules. Kerala is the only state which has appointed pharmacy inspectors in all the districts after PPR notification, a key rule in the PPR. In fact, the state pharmacy councils with the support of the respective state governments should have taken up the issue of adoption and implementation of this Central Rules by now. Pharmacy Council of India and the pharmacist community in the states also should have taken efforts in this regard.
Pharmacists of today are expected to interact with patients, doctors and nurses in a collaborative model as is the case with the developed countries. The focus of pharmacy practice in developed countries has shifted from product centric to patient centric with the implementation of modified pharmacy practice regulations favouring patient safety. But, in India the pharmacist has not yet received the status and respectability of this profession. Pharmacists are more seen by the public as salesmen handing over medicines prescribed by physicians at the retail chemist shops. Such a perception needs to change in India too. One of the key provisions in the PPR, therefore, is empowering of state pharmacy councils and to appoint pharmacy inspectors in all the districts of every state. Currently very few states have pharmacy inspectors and their role and responsibilities have not been defined. As per the provisions of PPR, pharmacy inspectors are authorized to inspect the retail medicine outlets for checking whether medicines are dispensed by a qualified pharmacist. Currently, drug inspectors of the state drug control departments are conducting such inspections at the retail outlets. PPR also prescribe a dress code of white apron with a badge having name, qualification and registration number for pharmacists. There are various other provisions in PPR aimed at uplifting the status of the pharmacist and thereby achieving the goal of patient care.


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