The Tamil Nadu Pharmacy Council will observe Wednesday as ‘Pharmacy Day’.

The day has been chosen by the Pharmacy Council of India to raise awareness about a specialisation that few are aware of.

India has around 10 lakh registered pharmacists working in various positions in the healthcare industry. According to members of TN Pharmacy Council, the day is an opportunity to ‘create a platform for communication between pharmacists’ and to acknowledge their role in the daily lives of the community.

The State has 61,899 registered pharmacists working in hospital and community pharmacy services but there is need for these professionals in every health centre, said T. Ilango, registrar of Tamil Nadu Pharmacy Council.

“The role of pharmacists is not established unlike in developed countries where they are the authority on drug dispensation. We come under the umbrella of medical education but we need a directorate and a university exclusively. The scope for a qualified pharmacist ranges from becoming a medical store officer for a hospital to a drug controller for the state,” he said.

The profession is yet to be established in India. Even in government hospitals, around 25 per cent of the posts are vacant. Since a qualified pharmacist must be paid at least Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000, a majority of shops do not appoint a full-time pharmacist. Instead, they work part time for less than half the stipulated salary.

The Pharmacy Council of India has drafted a practices regulation which has been approved by the Central government. It will soon become mandatory to appoint full-time pharmacists in every medical shop and the pharmacist will sport a white coat and display his identity card, provided by the council.

According to Mr. Ilango, the government must post pharmacists in all dispensaries, maternity centres and primary health centres. A day for pharmacists is just the beginning.

“The situation is better in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu but a lot more must be done in other States,” Mr. Ilango said.

On Wednesday, a couple of private medical universities have organised events to mark the day.

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