Pharmacy Practice Regulations was notified in January 2015 by the Central government aimed at regulating and enhancing the status and practice of pharmacy profession in the country. The notification is the first serious attempt to bring comprehensive changes to the outdated provisions in the laws governing the pharmacy practice. The pharmacy practice is currently regulated by two statutes namely the Pharmacy Act and the Drugs & Cosmetics Act notified by the government several decades ago. The PPR 2015 seeks to lay down a uniform code of pharmacy ethics, responsibilities of pharmacist towards patients, job requirements of a pharmacist, role of a community pharmacist, etc. The new age pharmacists are expected to interact with patients, doctors and nurses in educating the patients in a collaborative care model as is the case with the developed countries. The focus of pharmacy practice in developed countries has shifted from product centric to patient centric with the implementation of modified drug laws favouring patient safety. Whereas in India the pharmacy profession has not received the status and respectability this profession deserves. Pharmacists are more seen by the general public as salesmen handing over medicines prescribed by physicians in the counters of retail chemist shops. Such a perception needs to change in India too for better patient welfare.
One of the key provisions in the PPR, therefore, is empowering of state pharmacy councils to appoint pharmacy inspectors in all the districts of every state in the country. Currently very few states have pharmacy inspectors and their role and responsibilities have not been defined. As per the provisions of PPR, pharmacy inspectors are authorized to inspect the retail medicine outlets for checking whether medicines are dispensed by a qualified pharmacist or unqualified persons. Currently, drug inspectors of the state drug control departments are conducting such inspections at the retail outlets. PPR also prescribe a dress code of white apron with a badge having name, qualification and registration number for pharmacists. There are various other provisions in PPR framed with the intention of uplifting the status of the pharmacy profession and thereby achieving the goal of patient care. But, these Regulations remained largely unimplemented in most of the states even after 2 years in the absence of support from the state governments. Kerala is only the state which has appointed pharmacy inspectors in all the districts after PPR notification. Pharmacy councils in many states have taken up the issue of implementation with the respective state governments but the response has not been encouraging. Pharmacy Council of India, state pharmacy councils and the entire pharmacist community in the country should have taken up this matter with all the state governments soon after PPR was notified.