15,000 pharmacists working in the private pharmacy stores and clinics in Kerala are unable to get their drug licenses renewed at the Drugs Control Directorate because of the state licensing authority's refusal to accept their declaration stating the work details. The term of a drug license is five years and even those applying for fresh licenses are also being denied license, according to Kerala Private Pharmacists Association (KPPA).

When contacted, state drug controller M P George said the situation arose because of the recent reforms implemented by the state pharmacy council. However, he said his office is extending maximum help to the applicants.

The state pharmacy council, under the pretext of an initiative to enforce the section 42 of the Pharmacy Act, conducted a state-wide survey of working pharmacists and a campaign for renewal of their registration in all the districts of the state last year, which continued till December. The Section envisages that only a qualified and registered pharmacist is eligible to dispense drugs through any pharmacy or clinic.

In the renewal campaign, in eleven districts in the state, the council had limited the validity of the registration of the certificates, even to the life long registration, up to December 31, 2008. The KPPA has protested against this move of the Council, which in its final phase of campaign granted the validity up to 31-03-2009 to the certificate holders of three southern districts. The pharmacists belonged to the three districts of Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram received certificate validity up to 31st December 2009. These pharmacists are only eligible for renewal of drugs licenses at the directorate at present.

K C Ajith Kumar, president of the state pharmacy council said they will reconsider the issue and a time span of three months will be given to the pharmacists to renew their certificates once again so that they will be eligible to apply for the drug licenses. This decision of the council is also questioned by the pharmacist association complaining that the people in the northern districts of Kasargodu and Kannur have to come to the Council office and to the Directorate in Thiruvananthapuram several times.

In these three districts, the state PCI has given registration validity to a total of 3414 pharmacists, 1600 from Thiruvananthapuram, 1250 from Kollam and 564 from Pathanamthitta, where they had attended the renewal campaign conducted by the council. According to the Council President, Kerala is the first state in the country taken measures to implement the Section 42 of the Pharmacy Act.

In Kerala the total number of pharmacists registered with the state PCI is 37500 as on 31.03.2008. The total pharmacists attended the campaign in all the 14 districts were 17964, out of this 3414 of the three districts were granted the registration validity up to December 31 this year.

In Kerala the total number of pharmacists registered with the state PCI is 37500 as on 31.03.2008. The total pharmacists attended the campaign in all the 14 districts were 17964, out of this 3414 of the three districts were granted the registration validity up to December 31 this year.