Opposition Grows Against Proposed NPC Bill 2023: Pharmacy Students Advocate for the Retention of Pharmacy Council of India (PCI)

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In a recent development, the Union health ministry’s draft National Pharmacy Commission (NPC) Bill 2023 faces opposition from the Student Pharmacists Rights Committee (SPRC) in Maharashtra. The SPRC has passed a resolution urging the Union government to reconsider its move to create the NPC, emphasizing the importance of retaining the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI).

NPC

Background: The Union health ministry recently released the draft NPC Bill 2023, seeking to replace the Pharmacy Act 1948 with the NPC. The Student Pharmacists Rights Committee (SPRC) in Maharashtra opposes this move, expressing concerns over the potential loss of rights and protection for pharmacists.

SPRC Resolution: The SPRC resolution emphasizes the significance of the PCI as a statutory body that regulates the pharmacy profession and protects pharmacists’ rights. The association fears that the NPC, once formed, may not adequately represent the interests of pharmacists, potentially falling under the control of bureaucrats or influential academics.

Government’s Reform Approach: The SPRC acknowledges the need for reforms in the pharmacy sector but advocates for preserving the PCI and making amendments to strengthen it. Rushikesh Madhukar Sapkal, national convener of SPRC, suggests involving the PCI in the proposed national commission or retaining it in its current form.

PCI’s Role: PCI, modeled after regulatory bodies in developed countries, has played a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of pharmacy students and professionals. Concerns arise that a commission with more powers might neglect the rights of students and the protection of pharmacists.

SPRC’s Strategy: Sapkal plans to collaborate with student wings in other states to garner support for the resolution and draw government attention. Advocates for the appointment of a qualified hospital or academic pharmacist as the NPC chairman, with a primary focus on protecting the pharmacist community.

NPC’s Proposed Structure: The SPRC proposes that the NPC prioritize healthcare and include pharmacists from the healthcare sector in its advisory council, with a special focus on government pharmacists. Calls for provisions promoting pharmacists as community health officers in village areas, recognizing their crucial role in healthcare management.

Importance of Recognition: Emphasizes the NPC’s responsibility to highlight the indispensable role of pharmacists, chemists, and druggists in healthcare management. Advocates for a respectable place for pharmacists in pharma policy management, addressing issues related to the procurement and distribution of medicines.

Conclusion:
As opposition grows against the proposed NPC Bill 2023, the SPRC underscores the importance of retaining the Pharmacy Council of India to ensure the protection of pharmacists’ rights and representation in the evolving healthcare landscape. The government is urged to consider the concerns raised by the pharmacy community and incorporate their perspectives in the formulation of the NPC.

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