The Madras High Court has declined to entertain a writ petition filed by a pharmacist from Panavadalichatram in Sankarankovil Taluk of Tirunelveli district to forbear the police from arresting him for suggesting drugs, administering injections and collecting blood samples from patients visiting his pharmacy.

Dismissing the petition filed by A. Ramesh Babu in the Madurai Bench of the High Court, Justice T.S. Sivagnanam said that a pharmacist could not be allowed to carry out such medical procedures merely on the ground that he had learnt them while undergoing a Diploma course in Pharmacy.

"Inclusion of a particular subject in the curriculum cannot be used by the petitioner to state that he is entitled to practise the same. If such interpretation is given, then the very purpose of enacting the Indian Medical Council Act and maintaining the list of registered medical practitioners would become an empty formality," the judge said.

He pointed out that a pharmacist found guilty of any infamous conduct in professional respect could be de-recognised under Section 36 (1)(ii) of the Pharmacy Act, 1948. Section 42 prescribes that no person other than a registered pharmacist should dispense medicines prescribed by a medical practitioner.

Therefore, the petitioner cannot dispense drugs without valid prescriptions just because he owned a medical shop in the locality. "Further, the petitioner has stated that he is assisting the patients by administering injections and taking blood samples too. At no stretch of imagination, he shall go on with such activities," the judge said.

"It is needless to state that as long as the petitioner confines himself to the sphere of activity for which he is authorised and for which purpose he holds the qualification, he cannot apprehend any harassment in the hands of the police. Even otherwise, in the event of a complaint being lodged, the petitioner cannot seek for a blanket order that such complaint should not be investigated," he observed.

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