LAHORE: The Drug Court of Lahore has ordered the Punjab health authorities to take action against pharmacies or medical stores being run on rented registration and ensure physical presence of the registered pharmacists on their stores.

In an order issued on a complaint, the court directed the health secretary and the director general of the Punjab Health Services to issue instructions in the province through advertisements in electronic and print media that the physical presence of pharmacists at their pharmacies or medical stores is a legal requirement. The drug court consists of Chairman Chaudhry Muhammad Jahangir and members Farooq Bashir Butt and Dr Mubashar Ahmad Butt.

Asks govt to ensure physical presence of pharmacist at each store

The court in its decision observed that the people be educated about their right to ask pharmacy owners to ensure the presence of a pharmacist to know about the toxic effects of drugs.

The court gave one month’s time to comply with the directions or face strict action.

The court also directed the Punjab Pharmacy Council secretary to advertise in the media that pharmacy registration on rent was a crime. The court gave a 15-day deadline to pharmacists to withdraw rental arrangements.

During the hearing of the complaint it was transpired that most of the pharmacists had rented their degrees or registration certificates to store owners in Punjab and the practice was rampant in connivance with drug inspectors, health department’s officials, including licensing branch in all the districts. The qualified people do not visit pharmacies, and in some cases, they are out of the country but their pharmacy credentials are being used at different pharmacies.

The court observed that the illegal practice had been carried out for the last 50 years or so and those violating the mandatory provisions of law were playing with the lives of people.

It said that according to the Drug Act of 1976 and the Punjab Drug Rules of 2007, it was the basic right of every citizen that they be provided guidance by a qualified pharmacist regarding the formulation and dosage of the medicines at the time of purchase of drugs.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2016