ISLAMABAD: The Pharmacy Council of Pakistan (PCP) became functional on Tuesday after its members took oath and also decided to bring changes to pharmaceutical education to bring it up internationalization.
PCP members also visited the Pakistan Medical and DentalCouncil (PMDC) to learn about how a regulatory authority should operate, and decided to set minimum standards for pharmaceutical schools and colleges, like the PMDC.
The PCP is a body responsible for the registration of pharmacists and the promotion of pharmaceutical education in the country.
Established in terms of the Pharmacy Act 1967, it regulates pharmacists, pharmacy support personnel and pharmacy premises in Pakistan.
Its mandate is to protect, promote and maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of patients and the public who use pharmaceutical services in Pakistan.
A council member told Dawn that the tenure of the former council expired in March and new mem-bers were nominated last month.
`Although the PCP act was passed in 1967, its first secretary was appointed after 14 years in 1981. Its regulators could not be finalised for the last nearly four decades, so we have decided to finalise them as soon as possible, he said.
There are around 50 public and private institutions in the country that have provided pharmaceutical education, but most of them are not ensuring the quality of education, due to which pharmacists who have studied there also lack ability, he said.
`On Tuesday, we visited the PMDC to see how the quality of education and services can be improved. We learnt that the PMDC has introduced a minimum standard of facilities for colleges.If colleges get 750 out of 1,000 points they are allowed to operate, otherwise they are closed,` the PCP member explained.
`We have decided to prepare checklist for educational institutions so that institutions can address their deficiencies themselves, otherwise they will face strict action. It was also decided to make a pool of inspectors for educational institutions, and they will be trained with the support of the Higher Education Commission, he said.
PCP Vice President Dr A.Q Javed said the PCP is housed in an apartment in Blue Area, so it was also decided to acquire five kanals at the National Institute of Health to construct a building.
`Some of the decisions taken during the meeting included strictregulatory monitoring of institutions imparting [pharmaceutical] education, drafting a road map to build the professional status of pharmacists and the amendment to the Pharmacy Act 1967 in line with current international standards.
`We have learned a lot because of Pakistan. Now we want to return it by improving the standards of pharmacists of the country.
Currently, there isn`t a single university of pharmacy in Pakistan, so we will also make efforts to establish a public sector pharmacy university,` Dr Javed added.
National Health Services Secretary Ayub Sheikh also emphasised the need to regulate the pharmaceutical educational system to produce high quality professionals in the field.