The Punjab government and its pharmacy council will frame stricter rules for the chemists to curb addiction to medicines, especially among the youth.
Medical Education and Research Minister Tikshan Sood told reporters here Wednesday that the department and the pharmacy council would ensure that the 25,000 chemist shops in the state employed qualified pharmacists to dispense medicines to consumers.
He said there were 28,738 registered pharmacists and many of them could be working at more than one establishment.
"We will put an end to this practice," Sood said.
The minister said that drug dependence and addiction was on the rise, especially in rural areas and small towns.
He said the pharmacy council will set up flying squads to ensure that drug inspectors kept a check on the medicines sold by chemists.
Sood said that recruitment of at least one qualified pharmacist could be made compulsory for over 6,000 wholesale medicine dealers, who do not require any pharmacy degree to deal in medicines.
"This will also create employment for qualified pharmacy graduates," he added.