Is it possible for each salesperson in a pharmacy store to be a qualified pharmacist? No, and everyone knows that. This is the reality that the health ministry is ignoring—by scuppering a chemicals ministry proposal to train these salespersons.
The mismatch between?the demand?for?skilled?personnel and supply in the pharma sector, as in most others, is acute (see Mint, 5 March). Employing non-pharmacists as sales assistants is therefore natural.?This means fairly high?chances?of prescriptions being misread, of substandard drugs passing muster at the counters,?and other malpractices. That’s what the training aims to address. The health ministry says allowing it is against the spirit of the rule that only pharmacists can dispense drugs. But registering a store in the name of one, and having trained people work under him/her is a smart solution.
The health ministry is only burying its head in the sand. It is ignoring the spirit behind that very rule.