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52-day hunger strike by Kerala pharmacist bears fruit as PCI notifies CP post

Our Bureau, Chennai
Friday, July 9, 2021, 15:15 Hrs  [IST]

Simon Joshua, father of a Pharm D graduate and a community pharmacist by profession in Kerala, who held a 52-day hunger strike before the office of Pharmacy Council of India in New Delhi in 2019 demanding creation and notification of clinical pharmacist (CP) post for Pharm D graduates in the country, is now in high spirits as his ‘single-man agitation’ for a noble cause has achieved the result.

Simon had only one slogan during his ‘one-man strike’ programme in the extreme chilling weather of November and December in 2019 in New Delhi and it was nothing but “PCI should initiate steps with the government to create clinical pharmacist posts in the government health sector’.

His argument was that this international pharmacy course was designed and introduced in the country by PCI to produce new generation pharmacists on par with global pharmaceutical service standards. So, the Council cannot deviate from its ultimate goal as it is their responsibility to find placements for the Pharm D graduates who all did the course by availing financial loans from various banks.

He was of the opinion that the future of thousands of students pursuing the course by spending lakhs of rupees depends on the council. He started his hunger strike before the PCI office, gradually it created some kind of headache for the council office-bearers.

However, they did not want to mess with him or tried in any way to force him to end the strike. But, the council held its EC meeting in Chennai and decided to pressurize the Union health ministry for specific job opportunities for Pharm D graduates. PCI received a promise from the government and it helped the Council to pacify Simon Joshua for a short period and also to force him to end the hunger strike.

But after six months, when he was trying to embark on his second strike raising the same demand, the spread of coronavirus blocked him from going to Delhi. Then he opted for online and off-line correspondences with the government of India and the PCI. During this period he wrote letters, representations and memorandums to the government and to the PCI raising creation of clinical pharmacist post, but to no avail.

Although Simon’s one-man strike did not draw parents and students of Pharm D or graduates of the doctoral course, it had drawn the attention of the media in Delhi and through their coverage he got national attention among pharmacy professionals. The authorities also came to know of his strike and its objective.

Finally, he was preparing to hold his next hunger strike in August this year before the PCI and announced it on social media after sending letters to the PCI president and to the Registrar. Their reply to him was to wait for a few days since the government decision was pending. Now the decision of the government has come in his favour satisfying all the Pharm D graduates in the country.


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DrMir Iqbal Jul 12, 2021 6:06 PM
We congratulate and appreciate the fruitful efforts by the brave heart man, Mr. Simon. But the other demands of PharmD doctors are not over yet.
Pradeep kumar Jul 10, 2021 2:39 PM
Jai Hind Jai pharmacy . Pharmacy ekta jindabaad...
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