IT is a matter of great concern that despite tall claims by the Punjab health commission regarding the implementation of health regulations, the fulltime presence of pharmacists at medical stores is largely not being complied with in Lahore.

I have even observed unqualified salespersons at medical stores selling antibiotic products other than those written on the prescription. This may have serious consequences for the patients.

Upon inquiry, a typical reply by all such pharmacies would be that the pharmacist was either on leave or had gone out for personal work. This widespread and blatant violation of relevant drug rules does not seem possible without the connivance of the regulatory officials. No wonder there has been a mushroom growth in setting up medical stores throughout the city owing to high profit margins and ease of doing business without qualified pharmacists.

The Punjab health commission should take urgent notice of this situation and ensure fulltime presence of pharmacists at all medical stores besides notifying phone number of the commission in the national press for citizens to instantly lodge complaints.

Basharat Malik

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2020