Pharmacists to get the power of consultation from November
All chemist stores in state authorised by pharmacy council will be training institutes for pharmacists
from November, the role of pharmacists will witness a huge change across the state, with the Maharashtra Pharmacy Council agreeing to implement the Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015, floated by Pharmacy Council of India (PCI).
As per the new rules, the pharmacists will connect with patients in counselling sessions, undergo refresher courses, conduct health education and undertake pharmaco epidemiological studies. According to PCI, the new regulations will improve quality of healthcare, ensure that pharmacists maintain high standards in their duty and curb abuse of medicines. Only registered pharmacists would be involved in counselling, though. The practice has already been followed by some pharmacists, and the draft in the directors’ board is to be finalized to issue a circular.
The rules also stipulate that all diploma holders in pharmacy, who have a licence, have to wear their apron. In the training, all knowledge of medicines and their adverse effects, and food interaction with medicines will be given to the patients who come at the shop with prescription for medicines. The name board of the shops should also have the name and licence number of the pharmacists on the board. “A 500-hour or threemonth training has to be taken by the pharmacy diploma holders at the drug store,” said Vijay Patil, president, Maharashtra Pharmacy Council.
Dr Avinash Bhondwe, family physician and former senior vice-president of IMA, Maharashtra, said, “The PCI decision is good, but there are other important things that should be brought under control. Apart from the routine problem of over-thecounter medicines, the pharmacist also gives scheduled drugs, antibiotics and other drugs without prescription. The decision of paying consultation charges and to take consultation depends on the patient, though. The patient may once do that, but they will not go to the chemist for it every time. S/he will come to the doctors for consultation.”
Dr Bhondwe explained, “If the doctor has given a month’s dose to a patient and the course is completed, and the chemist still keeps on giving the same medicines to the patients for almost a year on the same prescription without asking for the prescription again, that is wrong. This causes complications in the patient. There is even a problem of unnecessary substitutes given by the chemist to the patients, if they don’t have that medicine. The pharmacist gives a medicine with a similar name of the brand. But the basic medicine is different.”
Dr Santosh Gosavi, president, General Practitioners’ Association, Pune chapter, said, “The chemists are already giving medicines to patients without prescription. This is wrong. The patients come to us after they have landed up in complications. I agree that this will help the patients. But still, patients trust their doctors more and come up with the medicines to ask us about the time and meals for taking the medicines.”