of the vital amendments in the Schedule K Serial No. 23 of the drugs and
cosmetic rules 1945, which was published in a notification of the Gazette of
India Dated- 6 November 2019, which came into force the same day, was as
For the entries under the column class of
drugs, the following shall be substituted, namely― Drugs supplied by:
(i) Health Functionaries including
Community Health Officers, Nurses, Auxiliary Nurse Midwives and Lady Health
Visitors attached to Primary Health Centers/ Sub-Centers/ Health & Wellness
Centers in rural and urban areas,
(ii) Community Health Volunteers such as
Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) under the National Health Mission,
(iii) Anganwadi Workers
medications by a person other than a registered medical practitioner or a
pharmacist from now onwards may be unethical and is a violation of Section
42 of Pharmacy Act 1948, which mentions that no person other than a
registered pharmacist shall dispense any medicine on the prescription of a
medical practitioner. A person who violates will be punished with an
imprisonment for up to six months or with fine or with both.
- Only a registered
storage condition, dosage form, dose, route of administration and, duration
of drug treatment.
instructions and precautions while dispensing drugs to a pregnant and
effects, drug-drug interactions
right amount, the right duration and the right dose- the rational drug usage.
health may be in danger if the amendment is not reversed back.
community health worker may have only completed his SSC-secondary school
education, who may not have complete knowledge about drugs.
Protests in the Country:
Around 3,000 pharmacists and
members of 36 associations of pharmacists belonging to public and private
sectors protested at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi against the Union Health
Ministry's Notification, empowering anyone to supply around 80 types of
different drugs at sub-centers in rural & urban health centers.
Some associations also state that
this amendment violates Article 16, Article 21 and Article 47 of the Indian
Constitution, mentioning that the fundamental right to practice their
profession for earning their livelihood.
How to Address the Issue?
Utilizing more than 1.3 million
registered pharmacists available in India for dispensing drugs to the public
could address the issue. This would be a safer option, as many such pharmacies
are notorious at dispensing medication without any prescription in India. This
type of legislation sends out a wrong message to the general public and the
erring pharmacies. Nowhere else in the world is this allowed.
In a nutshell, we are endangering
the health of the citizens of the country rather than safeguarding them and
there are no short cuts in healthcare and medical practice.