We have seen Pharmacists demands in India have been pending for decades. Demands relate to grade pay, cadre formation and work environment. Pharmacists working under Government Of NCT Of Delhi are up for strike on 21 may 2018. So do pharmacists deserve to be treated better by governments? Let’s examine.
No Implementation Of Guidelines
Standard recommendations of Pharmacy councils, world health bodies and courts are not implemented for pharmacy profession. Pharmacists also do not get grade pay as per their qualification and workload. Pharmacists have won several cases in courts and tribunals but central and state governments have failed to take actions. Pharmacist community have long suffered injustice due to government apathy and ignorance of their issues.
Injustice to Qualified Pharmacists
It is to be noted that pharmacists are recruited on basis of diploma plus 2 year experience or b.pharma as essential qualification in central government departments, CGHS, ESIC, MCD and Delhi government etc. Nurses with same years of qualification get starting pay of 4600. B.pharma is also recognized as a technical course by AICTE, other technical graduate courses gets a starting grade of 4800 but pharmacists keep getting 2800 only.
Every profession has cadre , but pharmacists are recruited as pharmacists and retire as pharmacists, with no promotions avenues for the experienced and qualified. This is against the established principles of justice.
Workload On Pharmacists
Pharmacists are involved in patient interaction possible only by a well qualified and trained professional.
• During Dispensing Pharmacists are involved in pointing out humane prescription errors to the Doctors.
• Pharmacists consult patients on the proper intake and dose, consult about precautions, side effects and probable duration of therapy.
• Qualified Pharmacists have knowledge of medicines, and they come in direct contact with patients. They provide information in layman terms suiting to the patient temperament. They provide practical information and answer specific queries related to medicines often not possible to be included in the prescriptions format, thus helping and comforting the patients.
• Pharmacists motivate patients about compliance thus directly effecting the result of treatment.
• Pharmacists even answer general multiple queries of patients sometimes suiting to a receptionist thus helping the patients with several confusions.
• Pharmacists regularly update medical officer about availability of medicines.
• Doubles up as a clerk, noting down every entry of dispensed medicines.
• Keep track of stock and inventory, watch for safety of the stock, thus working as store keeper on daily basis.
• Count, calculate, record daily stocks and availability of medicines, thus working as an accountant.
• The number of pharmacists is not sufficient in most hospitals and many dispensaries, with no replacement available if pharmacists need a toilet break or something.
Thus it can be seen both qualification and workload of pharmacists make their case for cadre and grade pay strong. Comparing established norms of salary and cadre in India for other professions it can be shown that pharmacists are currently undervalued and ignored. Demands seems to be justified to any logical head, and should be addressed by central and state governments without wasting any further time.