In a long-delayed move, the Foods and Drugs Department is beginning to bare its fangs at chemists and druggists operating without qualified pharmacists, an offence under the Indian Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
According to official sources, not only does this common practice jeopardise the health of the masses -- it allows untrained people to deal with high-risk drugs -- it also endangers the job prospects of hundreds of qualified pharmacists. Since anyone with a couple of years' experience passes off as a pharmacist, the market value of B.Pharm graduates has touched an all-time low.
The dangers of this is manifold. Though the layman often seeks the salesperson's prescription for a minor ailment, only a pharmacist (in the absence of a doctor) is qualified to recommend medicines, the dosage and even prepare a concoction particular to a patient.
There are certain scheduled anti-biotics, tranquilisers, sedatives, anti-histamines, anti-hypersensitivity and anti-acidity medicines which seem to be common stuff, but can be fatal if a wrong spelling or wrong formula enters the picture, especially if they're being bought without a prescription. While this practice endangers patients' health, it also dulls job prospects of pharma graduates.