State pharmacy council is a key regulatory body expected to enforce Pharmacy Act,1948 and regulate and monitor professional conduct of pharmacists in a state. Existence and effective functioning of each state council are, therefore, extremely important in a country claiming to be one of the largest producers and suppliers of pharmaceuticals in the world. All the 29 States and Union Territories in the country are thus expected to have state pharmacy councils under the Pharmacy Act. The responsibility for establishing and efficiently running state pharmacy councils is on state government, Pharmacy Council of India and the pharmacist community of each state. With a huge increase in the number of pharmacy colleges and pharmaceutical establishments in the last 30 years, these regulatory bodies have a bigger responsibility today. Now, considering the growing importance of the role of pharmacists in the society, PCI even issued Pharmacy Practice Regulations in 2015 to be adopted by all the state governments. Despite all these efforts by PCI some of the newly formed state governments and north eastern states are yet to form pharmacy councils in their states causing serious difficulties for the pharmacist community for carrying out their practice.
Perhaps, Jharkhand is one state which is found to be adamant to set up the state pharmacy council despite a High Court's order. The recently bifurcated state, Telangana, has also not bothered to form the state council even after repeated appeals from the pharmacists there. Same is the case with most of the North Eastern states and all them are having only registration tribunals for the pharmacists. Registration tribunals are considered to be ad hoc bodies prior to the formation of state pharmacy councils and they do not have statutory status to monitor professional conduct of pharmacists. In the absence of a state council main problem confronted by the pharmacists, especially in bifurcated states, is in the areas of registration and certificate renewal of students. What PCI has found over the years in these states is a steady spurt in the number of fake registrations of pharmacists. This is a dangerous trend and that can lead to posting unqualified persons as pharmacists in public hospitals and other government health establishments. In fact, in the last meeting of all state pharmacy councils, PCI asked all the state governments with registration tribunals to be replaced with the state pharmacy councils. PCI also warned of action against these tribunals in three months time. But, no action is forthcoming from these state governments. PCI and the entire pharmacist community of the affected states need to take up this matter jointly with the state governments until the result is achieved.