No prescription, no pills, says FDA

Nov 29, 2011, 07:09 IST | Priyanka Vora

FDA is conducting seminars for chemists on latest rules and amendments related to sale of drugs, wants them to refrain from selling drugs without prescription

The next time you visit the neighbourhood medical store to buy medicines without a doctor's prescription, chances are you may just return home empty-handed.

Sell with care: The seminar is to enlighten medical store owners to be
more vigilant in their work and identify those who are addicted to over-
the-counter drugs. Representation Pic

Citing an urgent need to educate city chemists about the acts governing the sale of drugs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has started conducting seminars for the same. The focus of these seminars is to enlighten medical store owners to be more vigilant in their work and identify those who are addicted to over-the-counter drugs.

According to K B Shende, joint commissioner, FDA (Drugs), "If the store owners remain vigilant, a lot of good can be done to society. It is a known fact that there's a wide range of drugs that can't be sold without a doctor's prescription. However, chemists need to learn about the act related to the sale of drugs in-depth, so that they know what to stock and how to sell."

So far, the FDA has conducted 10 such seminars related to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. "During each seminar, more than 100 chemists from each zone are brought under one roof. Rather than just imparting knowledge about the exact laws and latest amendments, we make sure that the seminars are interactive," said a senior FDA official.

Other than identifying those addicted to medication, the FDA wants the chemists to go one step ahead and refer these addicts to an NGO for an appropriate rehab.

"If a person regularly visits a medical store asking for a particular medicine (if addictive in nature), the chemist should refrain from selling the drug if the buyer lacks proper prescription. Secondly by partnering with NGOs, chemists can help in rehabilitating such addicts," added Shende.

In addition, the FDA wants chemists to refrain themselves from selling so-called wonder drugs, as there is no provision for selling such drugs under the existing laws.

"There are various drugs in the market that are promoted via newspapers and television, but have no approval from us. Also, at times, such medicines are easily available at medical stores. In our seminars, we have started emphasising on the fact that such drugs cannot be sold by chemists, if they aren't approved," said Shende.

Damjibhai Palan, president of Retail and Dispensing Chemists Association (RDCA), said, "We have a monthly bulletin circulating among our members through which, we give details about the acts. Moreover, these seminars are a good platform for interaction between the chemists and the FDA officers."

Currently, there are around 40,000 chemists associated with RDCA.

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