ISLAMABAD-The city administration following the public complaints has directed all pharmacies to hire qualified pharmacists for retailing of medicines while non-qualified persons will not be allowed to sell medicines to the public, an official informed The Nation on Friday.

He said that a large number of complaints were registered on the Pakistan Citizen Portal on this issue.

The complainants urged the administration to forbid non-qualified persons from selling medicines to the public as it was not only violation of law but also harmful to public health.

The official said that senior drug inspector listening to the complaints on citizen portal has issued an order to stop the practice of selling drugs by non-qualified persons.

The drug inspection department of the city administration has directed all pharmacies and medical stores to hire qualified pharmacists for this purpose.

He said that the drug inspection teams have been tasked to check the compliance of the new order issued while strict action would be taken if any pharmacy was found involved in violation of the order.

The administration has also directed the pharmacies/medical stores working for multiple shifts to hire the pharmacists according to their schedule.

“Medical stores have been asked to sell the drugs under the personal supervision of a pharmacist,” he added.

The notification issued in this regards said: “this office is receiving frequent complaints through Pakistan Citizen’s Portal regarding sale/dispensing of drugs by un-qualified persons at few pharmacies/medical stores and distributors operating in the jurisdiction of ICT, Islamabad”.

It stated that it may be noted that as per existing laws, drugs must be sold/dispensed under the personal supervision of a pharmacist and in accordance with the prescription issued by a registered medical practitioner.

The letter said in view of above and in the interest of the public at large, all are directed to ensure sale/dispensing/supply of drugs under the active personal supervision of pharmacists/ qualified person.

Pharmacies and distribution set-ups operating for period exceeding one shift are directed to appoint pharmacist proportionate to their operational time (At least two or three), the letter added.

The letter also stated that all drugs/medicines must be dispensed/sold in accordance with the prescription of a registered medical practitioner (except OTC drugs) and a copy of prescription must be kept for record.

The above referred directions must be compiled within later and spirit and any sale establishment found selling drugs in absence of pharmacist/qualified person shall be sealed beside shall be initiation of legal proceeding against him, said the letter.

Earlier, the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS) was informed by the city police chief that some pharmacies were also involved in selling illegal drugs to public.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Amir Zulfiqar Khan had informed the Senate Committee on Health that medicines not allowed to be sold without prescription were easily available for the public.

 He stated that students were the customers of some controlled drugs which should not be provided over the counter.

Police had also arrested 700 people in the last three months in drug-related cases while some pharmacies were also involved in providing illegal drugs.   

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) had also announced establishing of model pharmacies in the country including federal capital.

The decision of establishing model pharmacies was taken to ensure the availability of essential medicines for patients as they do not face a shortage of it.

The pharmacies will be established in fourteen big cities of the country while later the project will be extended to other cities of the country also.

The model pharmacies monitored by the federal and provincial drug authorities will ensure the availability of life-saving drugs in pharmacies round the clock.