The Ministry of Health presented a bill on the National Pharmacy Commission, which will replace the existing pharmacy council – Elets eHealth

The Ministry of Health presented a draft law on the National Pharmacy Commission, which will replace the existing pharmacy council

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India has unveiled the National Pharmacy Commission 2023. This revolutionary law is meant to replace the outdated Pharmacy Act of 1948 and dissolve the current Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), paving the way for the establishment of the National Pharmacy Commission.

Central to the goals of this law is the improvement of pharmaceutical education. Its goal is to make high-quality, affordable education more accessible, thereby increasing the availability of qualified pharmaceutical professionals across the country. The move is expected to bridge gaps in healthcare, ensuring that pharmacy services reach all citizens equally.

The bill places a strong emphasis on the integration of modern research into professional practice, while contributing to the development of new research and maintaining high ethical standards in this area. It introduces systematic and transparent evaluations for pharmacy institutions and calls for the creation of a national register of pharmacies. The Bill is designed to be adaptable, meeting the growing demands of the sector.

A significant structural change proposed by the bill is the establishment of the National Pharmacy Commission, with headquarters in New Delhi. The commission will consist of the president, 13 ex-officio members and 14 part-time members. He will oversee three key committees: the Board of Pharmacy Education, the Board of Pharmacy Assessment and Evaluation, and the Board of Pharmacy Ethics and Registration.

Furthermore, the bill mandates that each state government establish a state pharmacy department within one year of the coming into force of the law. This is essential where such a chapter does not exist, thus ensuring decentralized and efficient governance.

The Board of Pharmacy Ethics and Registration will be responsible for maintaining a comprehensive National Pharmacy Register, adding a layer of transparency to the profession. The commission is charged with setting educational standards, facility standards, assessments, training, research and fee structures. It will also regulate admission processes, educational policies and supervise pharmaceutical institutions and professionals.

The committee is also tasked with ensuring the expertise of pharmaceutical professionals, potentially through final year undergraduate examinations or other methods. This is crucial for entry into national or state registers and for licensing.

Furthermore, the commission will focus on collaboration with industry and academic institutions, embracing advanced technology and hybrid education models to foster innovation and research. It will also prepare professionals for global opportunities by enhancing soft skills and offering elective courses.

The draft law introduces strict regulations for the establishment of new pharmacy institutions or courses, which must receive prior approval from the Pharmacy Assessment and Evaluation Committee. This board will assess, evaluate and publicly document the performance of pharmacy institutions, and non-compliance will result in fines or loss of recognition.

This announcement followed the passage of the National Commission for Nursing and Midwifery and the National Dental Commission Bill in August during the parliamentary session.

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