Newly-appointed DCGI Rajeev Singh Raghuvanshi has asked the state drug controllers to ensure that pharmacists should be physically present in the medical stores and that medicines must be sold under their direct supervision in retail pharmacies.
Aiming to curb misuse of prescription medicines, Raghuvanshi has also asked state regulators to ensure that no prescription medicine is sold at retail outlets without a proper and valid prescription.
He has asked for the strict implementation of the directive.
Earlier the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) had written to the DCGI urging a ramp-up of efforts to implement Section 42 (a) of the Pharmacy Act 1947, which says that the dispensation of medicine can only be done by a qualified pharmacist and a medical practitioner. Rule 65 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1945 too mandates the same.
“However, despite the rule and the Act already in place, it is seen that medicines are sold through the retail pharmacies by unqualified pharmacists,” said a government official on the condition of anonymity.
Its implementation will hence make sure that a drug is not dispensed without reviewing a prescription by a registered pharmacist. “This will also help in curtailing the advancement of e-pharmacies in the country,” the same person said. According to the IPA, selling Schedule H/H1 drugs or prescription drugs without a valid prescription and running a pharmacy without a registered pharmacist is illegal and is a danger to health.
It alleged that this kind of sale of scheduled drugs is happening only in India which is popularly known as the pharmacy of the world.
The order will also affect e-pharmacies which are already under the scanner as the Centre is looking at prohibiting sales of medicines through online channels in the country due to misuse of data and violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940.
Earlier this month the DCGI had sent show-cause notices to 20-odd e-pharmacies.
(With inputs from health)