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Govt’s proposal providing more power to health workers irks pharmacists

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Pharmacists across the country have strongly opposed the Health Ministry’s draft proposal, mandating allied healthcare professionals including Community Health Workers, Nurses, and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives to store certain category of drugs and prescribing the same.

The Ministry has proposed amendments in the drugs and cosmetics rule 1945 which allows such health workers to prescribe medicines like doctors.

These healthcare professionals could prescribe antacids, aspirin, analgesic balms, anti-malaria drugs and a few others at the wellness centres once draft proposal get through. At present, only doctors are allowed to give medicines to their patients, bypassing the pharmacists.

Healthcare workers with minimal expertise could pose a risk to health of masses, states a section of pharmacist who is contemplating to voice their concern to the Ministry.

Pharmacists have to study for six years and obtain a licence to practice. But a community health worker is given only training and knowledge in care-giving.

Dr Sai Kumar Katam, national president of Doctor of Pharmacy Association, was quoted by Deccan Chronicle as saying, “Safety and efficacy of allopathic drugs is a cause of concern. Due to the bacteria getting resistant to antibiotics, there is a major challenge in treating diseases. The government is making common people vulnerable instead of improving the dispensation and vigilance mechanism.”

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