Duties of Registered Pharmacists towards Patients

Last updated on Jun 21, 2022

While helping clients, pharmacists have certain duties:

  • A pharmacist is not bound to attend every person who asks for their service. However, a pharmacist should always be ready to respond to the sick and injured.1
  • Pharmacists should always maintain the confidentiality of their patients. For instance, a pharmacist should not reveal any issues or defects of patients observed during medical attendance. However, if the laws of the State require a pharmacist to give such information, they can do so. Pharmacists can also give such information if they think it will protect a healthy third party from a communicable disease like malaria, COVID-19 etc.2
  • While giving a prognosis, a pharmacist should not exaggerate or minimize the seriousness of the patient’s condition. In addition, pharmacists should ensure that the patient, patient’s family and close friends have knowledge of the patient’s condition so as to serve the best interests of the patient and patient’s family. 3
  • Pharmacists should respond to any request for their assistance in an emergency. They should not deliberately commit an act of negligence that may deprive the patient from necessary medical care.4

Patient Counseling by Pharmacists

Upon receiving a prescription drug order, and after reviewing the patient’s record, a registered pharmacist should personally initiate discussion of matters that will optimize the drug therapy or care of the patient. The pharmacist can conduct the discussion in person, or by telephone etc.

The discussion should include appropriate elements of patient counseling.5 Such elements may include the following :

  • Name and description of the drugs6
  • The dosage form, dose, route of administration, and duration of drug therapy7
  • Special directions and precautions for the drug8
  • Common side effects, adverse effects etc. that may be encountered, including their avoidance, and the action required if they occur9
  • Techniques for self monitoring drug therapy10
  • Proper storage of the drugs11

The patient or their agent can always refuse such counseling.

Role of pharmacies during counseling

The pharmacist has to maintain a record of drugs administered to the patient.12Further, pharmacies providing patient counseling have to keep in mind that:

  • Only registered pharmacists can be involved in counseling.13
  • Facilities should be provided for confidential conversation, and patient confidentiality must be maintained.14
  • Proper documentation is necessary.15
  • Counseling should be for the patient’s benefit. In every consultation, the benefit to the patient is of foremost importance. All registered pharmacists engaged in the case should be frank with the patient and his attendants.16
  • During counseling, punctuality should be maintained.17

However, please remember that the law does not give pharmacists the power to open pharma clinics to diagnose the disease and prescribe medicines.18

If these duties are not fulfilled and you face issues as a pharmaceutical client/patient, then you can file a complaint against the pharmacist.

  1. Regulation 8.1(a), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 201[]
  2. Regulation 8.1(a), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  3. Regulation 8.3, Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  4. Regulation 8.4, Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  5. Regulation 9.3(a), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  6. Regulation 9.3(a)(i), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  7. Regulation 9.3(a)(ii), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  8. Regulation 9.3(a)(iv), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  9. Regulation 9.3(a)(v), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  10. Regulation 9.3(a)(vi), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  11. Regulation 9.3(a)(vii), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  12. Regulation 9.3(b), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  13. Regulation 9.3(d)(i), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  14. Regulation 9.3(d)(ii), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  15. Regulation 9.3(d)(iv), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  16. Regulation 9.3(d)(vi), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  17. Regulation 9.3(d)(vii), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015[]
  18. Clarification on Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015 notified by Pharmacy Council of India in Gazette of India No.17 dated 16.1.2015[]

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