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Medical practitioners at single-doctor clinics and small nursing homes that don’t have registered pharmacies are banned from selling branded medicines or vaccines to patients by the Centre.
The decision came as a result of widespread complaints that doctors sell pills to patients without having drug licenses and in the name of dispensing medicines, take advantage of unclear norms. To remove the uncertainty, the government has aimed to rightly amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The new proposal approved by the drug consultative committee under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, will limit doctors to provide only generic medicines or physician samples for free.
Currently, Schedule K of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act allows doctors to sell medicines to patients even without a drug license or without billing patients separately for the medicines sold.
The panel headed by the Drug Controller General of India has agreed to revise the clause to specify the medicines - only generic and physician samples - that doctors can offer to their patients.
A ministry official said that following the decision, they are in the process of notifying the amendment. However there is no exact data on single- or multi-doctor establishments where the practitioner dispenses drugs, an approximate estimate by officials suggested that the figure across India could cross two lakh.
According to Ravi Wankhedkar, Indian Medical Association member, doctors do not seem to be happy and said that this decision can cause lots of difficulties to single-clinic practitioners as well as hospitals who have licensed medical shops as it will lead to unnecessary harassment from the drug control authority and might lead to an obstacle in cases under the Consumer Protection Act.