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The Pharmacy Council of India will not support the Union government in launching refresher course for those unqualified workers in the medical stores to engage them do the duties of the pharmacists, said Prof. Dr. K. Chinnasamy, executive committee member of the PCI and the president of Tamil Nadu Pharmacy Council.

Aggressively objecting the move of the government, Dr. Chinnasamy said it is sarcastic to note that at a time when the PCI and the pharmacist associations in the country are fighting for implementation of Section 42 all over India and the Council introduced Pharmacy Practice Regulations for regulating the pharmacy profession, the government is going to implement refresher course for unqualified persons. Many governments in the past had attempted this type of short term training courses by belittling the pharmacy course and taking idiotic decisions affecting the health of the people. Pharmacist community had protested and blocked such moves and that is what is going to happen in this case also.

The doyen of pharmacy said the purpose of introducing the training programme is to make the kith and kin of the political leaders as pharmacists and give them licences for medical business. There are lakhs of unemployed registered pharmacists looking for jobs and opportunities for self-employments. He said the previous government’s attempt to bring a three-year medical course in place of MBBS under the pretext of treating the rural public was supposed to be implemented, but that was also thwarted by the educated community in the country, he pointed out.

He said more than one lakh pharmacists with Diploma and Degree qualifications are coming out every year from different institutions all over India and there is no shortage of qualified pharmacists in the country. The training course will help the unqualified members of AIOCD and other trade bodies become licence holders of pharmacy business. Pharmacy Council will approach the government with its strong stand of objection and explain to the government the risk factors of the training course and engaging such unqualified persons to handle medicines. There are a lot of examples of wrong doings by unqualified people in the medical stores.

Dr. Thirumalai Ilango, Registrar of Tamil Nadu Pharmacy Council and a strong activist of the Communist Party of India (CPM) in Salem, said the government’s decision is not acceptable and it is detrimental to the health of the people in the country. All over the world, the minimum qualification for registration of pharmacist is degree in pharmacy and the Pharmacy Council of India is trying to bring that rule here also. PCI introduced the ER 81 which mandates that only a diploma holder or graduate is eligible to register as pharmacist and get licence for pharmacy.

In 2008, PCI introduced the international course, Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D), to raise the status of the pharmacy profession into international level. The government must understand the facts and bring policies for the welfare of the society. He said if the government with the support of PCI president, introduces the training course, it will have to face strong protest from the pharmacist community.

Meanwhile, the president of PCI, Dr. B. Suresh Bhojraj, has not reacted to the government decision and his silence is criticized by pharmacists associations nationwide. Tamil Venden, chairman of the Tamil Nadu Pharmacists Awareness Organisation wanted the PCI president to respond to the issue for the sake of the pharmacist community. He said he will conduct protest agitation before PCI office in New Delhi if the training programme is implemented.

When asked, Prof. Chinnasamy said, Dr. B. Suresh is unlikely to support the decision of the government and the reported news about his espousal may be fake. The council will entirely oppose if such a stand is taken either by the president or by any member of the PCI, said the pharmacy expert and academician.

Whereas, K. Dinesh Kumar, secretary of Kerala Pharmacist Society, who is closely watching the move of the PCI president, has responded that the silence of Dr. Suresh in this serious issue has to be suspected because he is moving towards the Union government leaving the pharmacists in the country.
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