National Pharmacy Commission Bill Introduces Pharmacy Advisory Council for Enhanced Regulation

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The proposed National Pharmacy Commission Bill, 2023 introduces significant changes to the regulation of pharmacy education, services, training, and research in India. The key highlight is the establishment of a new advisory body called the Pharmacy Advisory Council, which aims to play a pivotal role in advising the National Pharmacy Commission (NPC). Under this draft bill, the Advisory Council will serve as a primary platform for States and Union Territories to communicate their perspectives and concerns to the Commission. This advisory body is designed to contribute to the shaping of the overall agenda, policy, and actions related to pharmacy education, services, training, and research.

National Pharmacy Commission

The Advisory Council’s responsibilities include advising the National Pharmacy Commission on measures to determine and maintain minimum standards in various pharmacy-related aspects. Additionally, it will focus on enhancing equitable access to pharmacy education, services, training, and research. The Council is mandated to meet at least twice a year, providing a structured forum for discussions and decision-making. The composition of the Advisory Council includes ex officio members such as the Chairperson of the Commission, Presidents of the three Boards under the Commission, and representatives from various bodies, including the Ministry of Ayush, University Grants Commission, National Assessment and Accreditation Council, and more.

Part-time members, representing each State and Union Territory, will also be nominated by respective state governments or the Ministry of Home Affairs. These members, including heads of institutions or vice-chancellors of pharmacy institutions, will actively contribute to the Council’s deliberations. Additionally, the draft Bill allows for the inclusion of part-time members from national-level professional pharmacy associations, nominated by the Central government. The term for part-time members is set at a maximum of two years.

The Advisory Council’s decision-making process is outlined, requiring at least fifty percent of members, including the Chairperson, to form a quorum. All decisions will be determined by a majority vote of the members present and voting. This proposed legislation, set to replace the existing Pharmacy Act, 1948, marks a significant step towards restructuring the regulatory framework for pharmacy-related activities in India. The release of the draft National Pharmacy Commission Bill, 2023 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare signals a commitment to ensuring the highest standards in pharmacy education and services across the nation.

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