Nagpur: As per the provisions of the Pharmacy Act and Pharmacy Practice Regulations, no person other than a registered pharmacist can dispense medicines. This means, every medical store needs to employ a pharmacist to disburse medicines prescribed by doctors. Not many medicine shops have a registered pharmacist. For the record, even the drug regulator of Maharashtra has admitted that more than 450 shops in the state are running without pharmacists.
All Food and Drugs License Holders Foundation (AFDLHF), an association of food and drug license holders in the state has appealed to the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to act against medical stores running without pharmacists.
“The FDA’s own website, as on October 8, shows that more than 450 shops in state are running without a registered pharmacist. Still, the FDA has not cancelled their licenses. On the other hand, the same website shows that more than 50 pharmacists in the state are working in more than one medical shop which is again illegal. We have appealed to th FDA to take action in both the cases,” said Abhay Pandey, president of AFDLHF.
According the FDA figures, 31 such shops are in Nagpur district and 25 of them are in the city. As many as 17 pharmacists in Nagpur are working in more than one shop. This number is just an official count on the FDA website. According to Pandey, there are thousands of medical shops in the state that are running without pharmacists.
“But we want FDA to act at least against shops running without pharmacists. They must check the ongoing irregularity,” he added.
After AFDLHF’s application, the FDA authorities have claimed that the number of shops running without pharmacists will reduce in the coming days as the administration is coordinating with the shop owners.
“Data on our website is real. It is updated every day. As per the rules, a medical store should not be functioning without a pharmacist. Sometimes, temporary approval is granted with the condition that the shop owner will appoint a pharmacist within a month,” said FDA joint Commissioner Amrut Nikhade.
He added that the number of such shops is less and action will be taken if they continue to function without a pharmacist after their permitted limit. Regarding the pharmacists working in more than one shop, Nikhade said FDA will forward their cases to the state pharmacy council and recommend their suspension.
Maharashtra Registered Pharmacists Association (MRPA) also demanded that pharmacists who indulge in wrong practices should face action. “We have enough registered pharmacists in the state. Every shop can avail of the service of an independent person. Shop-owners should coordinate with the FDA as they also provide registered pharmacists,” he said.