No medicines on Sept. 23

Pharmacists plan shutdown

By A Correspondent in Daltonganj
  • Published 13.09.18

Daltonganj: The Jharkhand Chemists and Druggists Association has called for a statewide shutdown of medicine stores on September 23 amid the Jharkhand State Pharmacy Council's decision not to renew licences of 3,600-odd pharmacists who do not have a diploma or degree in the subject.

The provisional licence expired on December 31, 2017, and the council cited a Supreme Court order to say in January 2018 that the same would not be renewed, leaving these pharmacists without a legal status.

Registrar of the council Kaushlender Kumar said the pharmacists were never registered with the JSPC and hence, question of a renewal does not arise. "We are bound by the order of the apex court of this country."

Vice-president of Jharkhand State Chemists and Druggists Association (Zone 1) Dharmender Upadhyay conceded that most of these pharmacists had no degree of diploma, and had acquired their registration numbers and licences in undivided Bihar on the basis of experience and expertise.

"The problem is that college-educated pharmacists are hired by multinational drug companies with plum pay packages. They won't come and work at medicine stores," Upadhyay added.

General secretary of the association Amar Kumar Sinha called the JSPC action arbitrary. "It is actually contrary to the spirit of the apex court order. The obstinacy of the JSPC will soon deprive 3,600 pharmacists of their livelihood. These people have spent their whole lives behind medicine store counters, reading prescriptions and handing out pills," he said.

The SC order says that no person without adequate education of pharmacy after 1989 be treated as a pharmacist and such a person cannot be registered with the state pharmacy council. "We are campaigning for those who were registered with the Bihar State Pharmacy Council before 1989. They should be treated as legal pharmacists," Sinha said.

Upadhyay explained that in undivided Bihar, a pharmacist's licence was issued to any person who could produce a certificate from the civil surgeon saying he/she worked in the field of medicines for five years. "The system was in practice till 1989 when Bihar was running short of pharmacists and there were not many colleges that taught the subject."