Drug inspectors overburdened
GUWAHATI, Sept 14: The Association of Registered Pharmacists, Assam (ARPA) has cried foul in the running of pharmacists in Assam where there are no pharmacy inspectors. The Association has also raised a question over the quality of drug inspection in the State by an overburdened team of only 13 drug inspectors.
Talking to The Sentinel on Friday, ARPA joint secretary Matiur Rahman expressed concern over non-appointment of pharmacy inspectors in the State. He said that the Assam Pharmacy Council has to appoint at least four pharmacy inspectors in each of the 33 districts in the State. Non-appointment of pharmacists in the State, according to him, is a blatant violation of the Pharmacy Regulations, 2015. He asserts that the pharmacy regulation has to be implemented in the State as running a pharmacy has much to do with human health. “This is not all. The Assam Pharmacy Council is being run without any permanent registrar,” he said.
Delving deep into the paucity of drug inspectors and its ramifications, Matiur Rahman said: “In accordance with the standing rules, each of the 33 districts in the State should have at least four pharmacists. They should have been appointed by the Assam Pharmacy Council. The total number of registered pharmacists in the State is 9,381 and the number of retail pharmacies is 6,718. There are over 3,000 fake pharmacists working in the State. It’s the Assam Pharmacy Council that has to keep watch on such matters. There are many Acts and regulations for the purpose, including Pharmacy Practice Regulation, 2015. At least four pharmacy inspectors have to be appointed in each district to implement the regulation. However, the Council is not doing that.”
Rahman further said: “The situation in drug inspection in the State is not better either. Strangely enough, a small team of 13 drug inspectors has to cover as many as 33 districts in the State. The already overburdened drug inspectors, each of whom has to look after two or more districts, have been given additional charges of more districts. On August 20 this year, the Directorate of Health Services, though an order, has given additional charges to the drug inspectors. The drug inspector who is in-charge of Kamrup and Kamrup (M) has been given the additional charges of Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar and Chirang districts as well. The inspector looking after Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts has been given the additional charge of Sivasagar, Charaideo, Jorhat, Majuli and Golaghat. Can the inspection be in true sense of the term in such a situation? How can a drug inspector take the burden of inspection of seven districts?”
Meanwhile, the ARPA, in association with the Assam Pharmacy Council, is going to observe the Pharmacy Day on September 25, 2018 in the city. This apart, in November this year, the Association is going to observe the Pharmacy Week at the national level in the city.