5,000 'fake' pharmacists under lens, yet Punjab eases licensing norms : The Tribune India

5,000 'fake' pharmacists under lens, yet Punjab eases licensing norms

A registrar of pharmacy council had sought cancellation of 'fake' registrations and filing of FIRs against 3,000 candidates and officials, but he was removed from post

5,000 'fake' pharmacists under lens, yet Punjab eases licensing norms

Photo for representation only.



Tribune News Service

Vishav Bharti

Chandigarh, November 27

Even as the degrees of more than 5,000 “fake” pharmacists are under the scanner, the Punjab State Pharmacy Council has decided to do away with the process of verifying the basic qualification before registering new pharmacists.

In 2015, information obtained through the RTI revealed that the council had registered unusually high number of pharmacists between 2000 and 2013. Before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, one needs to pass Class XII in science subjects. It was found that 40 per cent of the registered pharmacists had obtained Class X and XII certificates from dubious and unrecognised boards located outside the state. Many candidates were above 40 years of age and some even 50 when they obtained pharmacy degrees.

It was alleged pharmacy colleges in connivance with council officials provided licences to unqualified pharmacists in lieu of money.

A registrar of the pharmacy council had sought the cancellation of “fake” registrations and filing of FIRs against 3,000 candidates and some officials, but he was removed from the post.

In 2015, an inquiry was ordered by the Directorate of Medical Education and Research. The council was instructed to verify not only the pharmacy degree of the applicant, but also the Class X, XI and XII certificates. The Punjab Vigilance Bureau had also started an inquiry in the case in 2019. The probe is still underway. However, the council’s decision, as mentioned in the minutes of its meeting dated October 18, has opened floodgates for unqualified pharmacists and paved the way for letting off around 5,000 “fake” pharmacists.

Swaranjeet Singh, convener, Paramedical and Health Employees Front, and a complainant, said in the past eight years, the council had done nothing to weed out unqualified pharmacists. “Rather it has been working overtime to save them. The decision is against the norms. The accountability of the state drug controller, government analyst and registrar of the council must be fixed,” he said.

When contacted, Sushil Kumar Bansal, president, Punjab State Pharmacy Council, said the decision was taken following “verbal” instructions from the vigilance officer investigating the matter. He, however, failed to produce any document to substantiate his claim.

Won’t verify degrees

  • Punjab State Pharmacy Council decided not to verify qualification of new pharmacists
  • Move amid ongoing investigation into the credibility of degrees of over 5,000 pharmacists
  • These pharmacists registered with council between 2000 and 2013; VB probe underway

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