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Chemists and druggists are passé; from now, all will be pharmacies

The move is a long-standing demand of the industry   | Photo Credit: K_K_Mustafah

First coined in 1945, the words ‘chemist’ and ‘druggist’ are headed for a change, with the Union Health Ministry replacing them with ‘pharmacy’.

Besides being a long-standing demand of the industry, a senior health official explained that the phrase ‘chemists and druggists’ was coined over seven decades ago, is quite old, and has lost its relevance in the current scenario.

“At present, the word ‘drug’ is looked upon as more clandestine, and as addiction to chemicals, and thus it’s not suitable while referring to a professional pharmacist,” he added.

The matter was deliberated upon by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), after repeated requests were made to amend the Rule 65(15)(b) and Rule 65(15)(c) so that medical shops can be called a ‘pharmacy’.

After being cleared by DTAB, “This is now also in concurrence with the international practice of calling a medical shop selling medicines by this name [‘pharmacy’] and to also provide an identity and sense of value to the practising pharmacist at the outlets,” noted the Board.

Meanwhile, the change was deliberated and recommended by the 55th Drug Consultative Committee meeting held in January and March this year.

“This will definitely give the profession better recognition. We always had a problem with the word ‘druggists’ as the meaning is negative. We welcome this change the government has made,” said Kailash Gupta of the All India Chemists and Distributors Federation.

Meanwhile, according to the earlier Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, the description ‘Chemists and Druggists’ was to be displayed by those licensees who employ the services of a registered pharmacist but who do not maintain a ‘pharmacy’ for compounding (preparing a drug specifically for a buyer, based on a prescription from his or her doctor). The pharmacist mixes different ingredients together to create the individualised medication.

“However, in the current scenario, the compounding of medicines by registered pharmacists hardly exists due to a capable pharma industry in place in the country,” noted the DTAB.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 6:20:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/chemists-and-druggists-are-pass-from-now-all-will-be-pharmacies/article26891032.ece

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