The Bangalore District Chemists & Druggists Association (BDC&DA) has urged the union health ministry to omit Clause (G) in the Drugs & Cosmetics Act (D&C Act) which deals with supply of drugs specified under Schedule H1. The clause insists that all pharmacy outlets would need to maintain a separate register recording the details about the quantity of drugs sold and patient name for a period of three years.
According to the Association, the government should omit Clause (G) because pharmacists are hauled up by the state drug inspectors for not providing the details in a legible way.
“The drugs control departments are independent entities under the respective state governments which enforce the D&C Act & Rules and Drugs Price Control Order 2013, which are central government Rules. Therefore Clause G could be deleted as it is a common problem encountered by all chemists & druggists”, BDC&DA president V Hari Krishnan told Pharmabiz.
Further, the Association has also highlighted that the key cause of non compliance of Clause (G) is the mushrooming of pharmacy outlets in an unorganised manner. Here the Rule 64 (2) of the D&C Act is not adhered. The state drugs control departments should only grant trade licenses to outlets with a minimum area 10 sq. metres, having a registered pharmacist, along with a refrigerator in working condition and racks for storage of medicines. But BDC&DA has seen that the non-adherence to the Rule 64 (2) of the D&C Act has led to a haphazard growth of pharmacy outlets, thus causing difficulties to comply with Clause G, he added.
Although Schedule H1 permits sale on minimum unit packs, the public needs to be made aware on the issue. It is also important that medical practitioners should look to prescribe generics and not brand names. The latter is more affordable for patients who should be made aware about this. Patients should purchase the same on valid prescription to prevent chemists being harassed. Moreover, the doctors do not follow a prescription code as medicines advisories are communicated on any strip of paper with no indication of the doctor’s name or registration details, said Krishnan.
The BDC&DA president stated that the pharmacy retailers and wholesalers are rendering yeoman service enabling access to medicines across the country. But the pharmacists are being neglected by the government in terms of being burdened with regulations without taking into consideration the minimum business security for their livelihood. There are no adequate margins provided to the infrastructural costs in maintenance of pharmacy outlets.
In order to enhance earnings, the pharmacy outlets should be provided an additional percentage for maintenance of records as per the Drugs & Cosmetics, (Fourth Amendment) notification Rules 2013. Besides registered pharmacists need a fixed pay scale. In addition, there should be a minimum trade margin of 20 per cent to retailers on MRP and 10 per cent to wholesalers on price-to-retailer (PTR) on all formulations, stated Krishnan.