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Kerala High Court insists pharmacists alone can dispense drugs

Monday, 20 February 2017

The Kerala High Court has asked the state government to take stern action against medical shops found dispensing medicines without prescription of a Registered Medical Practitioner or a qualified pharmacist. The court issued the order on a petition filed by the Kerala Pharmacists Organisation which pointed out there were instances of medicines being dispensed in the absence of a pharmacist qualified as per the provisions of Pharmacy Act, 1948, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and the Rules 1945, Pharmacy Practice Regulations 2015.

It charged that the government was not taking any steps to prevent such practices by various medicine dispensation units in private and public sector. “The medical shops in private as well as in public sector are bound to follow the provisions of respective Acts and Rules and Regulations, 2015,” the court stated.
The Rules clearly stipulated that no person other than a registered pharmacist shall compound, prepare, mix, dispense or supply of any medicine on the prescription of a Registered Medical Practitioner.

The Rules further stated that dispensing medicines without the prescription of the Registered Medical Practitioner will fall under professional misconduct. Kerala State Pharmacy Council submitted that the council had appointed Pharmacy Inspectors in all districts for strict implementation of the pharmacy Act, Rules, Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015. Pharmacy Inspectors were regularly inspecting the medical stores, it said. The court held that if any violation is committed by any medical shop or another dispensing unit, the severe action shall be taken against the persons without fail. The government shall also ensure that working hours provided under the rules and regulations are strictly complied with.

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