J&K Pharmacists to get registration under Central Pharmacy Act

PCI gives approval, conveys to Govt

JAMMU, Feb 6:In a significant development, the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) has given its approval for recognition of the persons registered under Jammu and Kashmir Pharmacy Act, which was repealed by the J&K Re-organization Act 2019.

The decision has ended uncertainty over the fate of tens of thousands of Chemists and Druggists across Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh, who were facing the threat of closure of their outlets as they were not eligible under the Central Pharmacy Act, which replaced the J&K Pharmacy Act as per the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019.

The PCI, which is the apex body regulating education as well as profession of Pharmacy across the country, has agreed to forward its approval to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to insert Section 32 C in the Central Pharmacy Act 1948 for according special provisions regarding persons registered under repealed J&K Pharmacy Act.

The decision in this regard was taken by the 108th Central Council of the PCI and the same was conveyed today to the Governments of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories.

“Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 32, any person whose name has been entered in the register of Pharmacists maintained under Jammu and Kashmir Pharmacy Act 2011 and possesses qualification prescribed under the said Act, shall be deemed to have been entered in the register of Pharmacists prepared and maintained under Chapter IV of this Act,” read the official communiqué forwarded by the PCI to Atul Dulloo, Principal Secretary Health and Medical Education Department, J&K Government, Saugat Biswas, Divisional Commissioner Ladakh and Lotika Khajuria, Drug Controller, Drugs & Food Control Organization, J&K Government.
For the entry in the register under the Central Act, the registered Pharmacists of J&K and Ladakh will have to submit only an application in this behalf within a period of one year commencing from January 1, 2020 and payment of such fee as may be prescribed by the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The PCI has decided that the institutions located in J&K and Ladakh may be permitted to submit the application in hard copy, which shall be processed as and when received. Such applications received through hard copy will be later integrated in the software.

In the light of this development, the PCI has also asked Drug Controller J&K to forward its register of Pharmacist, maintained under Jammu and Kashmir Pharmacy Act 2011 and ensure that provisions of the Section 32 (2) of the Pharmacy Act 1948 are strictly complied with.

The significant decision by the PCI has salvaged the career of tens of thousands of Chemists and Druggists in the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh who were struggling to get their licenses renewed as J&K Pharmacy Council ceased to exist from October 31, 2019 following repeal of J&K Pharmacy Act by the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019.
Moreover, threat of closure of large number of medicine outlets here was also looming large in view of stringent eligibility criteria under the Central Pharmacy Act, which is applicable to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir from October 31, 2019.

Under Section 12 of the Central Pharmacy Act, only the qualification of Diploma in Pharmacy (D Pharma), Bachelor of Pharmacy (B Pharma) and Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharma D) are approved for the purpose of registration as Pharmacist.

However, majority of the Pharmacists who have been registered under the repealed Jammu and Kashmir Pharmacy Act, are matriculates without required Pharmacy education and therefore didn’t qualify for registration under the Central Pharmacy Act, 1948.

The issue came up for deliberations in the recently held Central Council meeting of the PCI, which is a statutory body working under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, and is responsible for regulation of Pharmacy education for the purpose of registration as a Pharmacist and practice of profession of Pharmacy in the country.

During the meeting, sources said that the Council member Sushil Sudan, who is president of J&K Pharmacists Association and represents Jammu Kashmir in the PCI, strongly pleaded the case of J&K Pharmacists for their registration under special provision and his stand was endorsed by other members also thus leading to the significant decision.