Punjab Govt suspends licence of 1000 chemists for violation of guidelines
Chandigarh: Reacting to the illegal practice of selling habit-forming drugs by the chemists and indulging in general violation of guidelines issued to run a chemist shop, the Punjab government has suspended the licence of 1000 chemist shops in a span of 10 months.
Some of the violations as found by various inspection by the health department include Non-availability of a pharmacist, the discovery of oxytocin injection from the chemist shops and the collected sample of medicines that did not pass the quality test
TOI reports that a large number of chemist shops, prominently in rural areas have mushroomed in recent years raising the number to 16ooo retail and 8000 wholesale chemists across the state. These chemists are allegedly indulged in an unlawful act of selling habit-forming drugs.
According to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, it is mandatory for every chemist to have a pharmacist. Pharmacists are professional drug specialists, who in India are currently responsible for preparing, manufacturing, distributing medicines and giving information about them.
However, paying no heed to the norms, a large number of shops are operating in absentia of pharmacists.
Under the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940/Rule 1945, 8024 inspections were conducted tracking down the violators. Legal proceedings were initiated wherein ninety licences were suspended and 12 were cancelled due to contraventions relating to habit-forming drugs. Remaining licences were suspended due to the general violations, which includes non-availability of a pharmacist.
A shocking recovery of habit-forming drugs worth Rs 5 crore from 291 units was made by the health department. It also seized oxytocin injections meant for veterinary use from the chemists. The department also seized habit-forming drugs worth Rs 8 crore from unauthorised sales units.
K S Pannu, commissioner food and drug administration, told TOI that dedicated teams regularly inspect chemists across the state. "Strict action is being taken against violators," added Pannu.
Keeping a close watch on chemists the government will be indeed coming up with a new policy to keep a check on the number of shops coming up in an area. According to the draft framed by the department, not more than two chemist shops will be allowed in an area without hospital or healthcare centres.
On November 27, a civil surgeon's review meeting was held. The meeting was chaired by Punjab health minister Brahm Mohinhdra who assured to address the issues related to infrastructure and most importantly the shortage of staff which is making it a herculean task for the drug inspectors working in various districts under seven zonal licensing authorities to keep an eye on chemist shops. There are 8000 chemists and only 39 drug inspectors to keep track of the same.