The words “chemists and druggists” appearing on the signboards of medical shops will soon have to be replaced with the word “pharmacy” following an order by the government’s top advisory body on drugs.
Dr S Eswara Reddy, drugs controller general of India, said, “Stores are using different nomenclatures and there was a need to bring in uniformity. Globally, the word pharmacy is used and widely accepted, so we decided to do the same.”
The Drug and Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) has approved changing the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules to bring uniformity to medical store signboards. According to the minutes of the DTAB meeting where the proposal was discussed, “the term ‘chemists and druggists’ was coined in 1945 and is quite old and has lost relevance and also, at present, the word ‘drug’ is looked upon as more clandestine and as addiction for chemicals, hence, not suitable to refer a professional pharmacist.”
Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, the description “chemists and druggists” is displayed by licencees who employ registered pharmacists but do not have a pharmacy for compounding – preparing personalised medication for patients — against prescriptions. The terms “pharmacy”, “pharmacist”, “dispensing chemist” or “pharmaceutical chemist” can be used only by licencees who employ the services of a registered pharmacist and run a pharmacy for compounding against prescription.
Registered pharmacists no longer practise compounding of medicines because the pharmaceutical industry sells formulations in different dosages and potencies. “There was need for this [renaming] as the concept of druggists is outdated. Earlier, there were not so many formulations available, so druggists themselves used to prepare medicines with relevant dosage etc, but now the pharmaceutical companies are doing the job. Everywhere pharmacy is used; so should we,” Sandeep Nangia, president, Retailers and Distributors Chemist Association in Delhi.
The matter was discussed in the 55th Drugs Consultative Committee meeting held in January this year, which recommended the renaming. The proposal was then placed before the 82nd DTAB meeting held on April 2, and the board agreed to amend the rules.
“We will have to update our database and add the changed names of stores that are registered with us. The final notification will provide a time frame to apply for name change with our licencing division,” said Dr Reddy, drugs controller general of India.
After the Union ministry of health and family welfare formally notifies the amendments, chemists will be given a time frame to make the necessary changes. – Hindustan Times