Nagpur: The ministry of health and family welfare has proposed amendments in the drugs and cosmetic rules 1945 by which it will allow many health professionals to supply medicines to their patients on the lines of doctors.
In a gazette published on November 6, the government has proposed to allow health functionaries, including community health officers, nurses, auxiliary nurse midwives and lady health visitors, to supply medicines to patients. At present, only doctors are allowed to give medicines to their patients, bypassing the pharmacists.
The Doctor of Pharmacy Association has strongly objected to this proposal. In the official statement issued on November 10, Dr SAI Kumar Katam, national president of the association, has claimed that no medical professional, including doctors, should be allowed to supply medicines directly by bypassing pharmacists. They have also demanded revocation of Schedule K (5) in the D & C Act which mandates doctors to stock and ‘supply’ medicines to their own patients visiting their clinics or hospitals.
“The proposed amendment is very dangerous to public health,” said Dr Katam. “No category of professionals except pharmacists should be allowed to keep, sell and dispense medicines. Direct selling of medicines by doctors and other health professionals to patients can lead to serious misuse of drugs,” he said.
Sources from the health ministry said that the proposed change is just to add new health professionals into the already existing exceptions.
“Schedule K of the Drugs and costemics rule speaks about the exemptions. Doctors and some other health professionals can keep some medicines for general use and supply them to their patients. With new health policies, the government has added posts such as community health officers in the system. As these officers will treat patients, they must get the exemptions on the lines of doctors,” said a senior official, adding that pharmacists are not sidelined due to this decision.
The government has still invited objections on the proposed changes. Apart from Doctor of pharmacy association, many other pharma groups have decided to register their objections on the issue.
“Schedule K allows doctors to keep and supply medicines to their own patients. Today the situation has changed, and we have more than seven lakh medical stores and qualified pharmacists,” said Dr Kailas Tandale, president of MRPA.
Vinayak Ghayal, President of state unit of Doctor of pharmacy association, said, “Even ANMs and Asha workers are allowed to dispense medicines. Some pharmacuetical companies could use their clinics as another channel to sell their products. This change is unacceptable.”
As per present law, doctors are allowed to give medicines directly from their stock in conditions like emergency situation
But, doctors cannot stock more than required amount of medicines
Now, Govt mulls to allow community health officers, ANMs, Asha workers to stock and supply some selected medicines
Pharmacists are furious over this proposal
They are now demanding that even doctors should not be allowed to supply medicines as enough number of qualified pharmacists are available
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