Medical store
Only five per cent pharmacies in Pakistan are run by qualified pharmacists. Photo for illustrative purpose only Image Credit:

Islamabad: Around 95 per cent of pharmacies, commonly known as ‘medical stores’, in Pakistan do not have qualified pharmacist to dispense medical prescriptions.

Only 5 per cent of more than 40,000 pharmacies in Pakistan have qualified pharmacists while around 15,000 qualified pharmacists are jobless and an overwhelming number of the medical stores are run by unqualified managers.

This was revealed by Chairman Patients’ Rights Forum Dr Noor to APP on Sunday. He said that around 2,000 medical stores in Lahore were found running without pharmacists last year, and around 240 of them were sealed during a crackdown on medial stores.

He said that around 15,000 pharmacists are unemployed in the country, of which 7,000 belonged to Punjab, whereas most posts of pharmacists were lying vacant even in Lahore hospitals.

As per the law, the appointment of a pharmacist is mandatory to get a license to run a medical store, he added. He said that around 45 institutions including public and private sectors were working in the country including 28 in Punjab which had been producing around 2,700 pharmacists every year.

A license from the Central Pharmacy Council in Islamabad is required to run an institution, but unfortunately most private pharmacies are operating without a licensed pharmacist, posing a serious danger to the public health as these stores also sell over the counter drugs.

Despite an order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, given in 2006 for appointment of pharmacists in hospitals, and the Punjab government orders issued in October 2012 to fill all vacant posts of pharmacists in hospitals, posts are vacant, he claimed.

The Pakistan Pharmacist Forum leader said that the Pharmacy Department should be set up in every hospital to handle matters relating to medicines.