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Dr Jagashetty
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 08:00 Hrs [IST]

Government should now think of a process to implement a bio-metric pharma card which can be used by any qualified pharmacy graduate or post graduate in pharmacy and Pharm D candidate to be able to work in a pharmacy outlet on hourly basis. This move will transform the functioning of a pharma retail outlet, stated Dr BR Jagashetty, former National Adviser (Drugs Control) to MoHFW & CDSCO and former Karnataka Drugs Controller.

A role of a pharmacist is not merely dispensing of medicines but patient counselling on drug dosage regime, adverse reactions and other matters relating to the rational use of medication. Here only a qualified pharmacist with a minimum B Pharma degree can take the slot. Moreover, any qualified pharmacy professional working in academia or industry or even in a healthcare can take up drug dispensing across chemist outlets in the country, he added.

Contending with views of experts in the country on doing away with diploma in pharmacy (D Pharm), Dr. Jagashetty said there is need for advancement in expertise in drug dispensing in an age of an educated and well-informed patient.

Moreover, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi working for a Digital India, the pharmacy outlets are the first point of modernisation going by the need to bring in an efficient drug dispensing model. “We need B Pharm as a minimum qualification to man our over 7 lakh chemist outlets pan-India. This is on similar lines of the US and Europe where pharmacists swipe and work at outlets. India too needs to take up this at the earliest. The country is recognised as the pharmacy of the world,” he noted.

Nowhere in the Drugs and Cosmetic Act or Rules, it is mentioned that there should be one pharmacist in a chemist shop and that he cannot be employed anywhere else. Rule 64 of the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules states that a person has to take charge of the chemist shop and for grant of license it says that supervision of drug sale should be done by a competent and qualified person. The competent person for retail is Registered Pharmacist and for wholesale it is either Registered Pharmacist or degree holder with experience. Therefore a qualified pharmacist employed in an industry or academia can also work in the pharmacy outlet during his free time, stated Dr. Jagashetty.

D Pharm candidates are not preferred workforce in pharma research, manufacture or marketing in the industry. Drug dispensing has taken a new realm. Information technology has enabled log-in and fingerprint recognition system. Pharmacy outlets have to tread the digital path

Therefore policy makers and the Pharmacy Council of India need to adopt a fundamental change working methods in drug dispensing. It should include pharmacy curriculum to update advance standards for pharmacy practice, which will enable integrating pharmacists in the chemist outlet mainstream. There is also an increased need for public and physician awareness on value of pharmacists behind the desk of outlets. It is here that we see biometric cards are the way forward in drug dispensing, said Dr. Jagashetty
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