Misconduct by Pharmacists

Last updated on Jun 21, 2022

The actions of a registered pharmacist which shall qualify for misconduct and those actions which can be complained against include:

Violation of Law

  • Violations of regulations under the Pharmacist Act (including violations associated with the duties of a pharmacist, which can be found here).(( Regulation 13(a), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))
  • If a registered pharmacist working in a pharmacy is also found working in another pharmacy/, pharmacy college/institution/industry/any other organization as a teaching faculty or otherwise, this is an act of misconduct.(( Regulation 13(u), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))

Handling medicines

  • Dispensing medicines which require prescription, without the prescription of the Registered Medical Practitioner.(( Regulation 13(b), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))
  • Substitution of the prescription without approval/consent of the Registered Medical Practitioner.(( Regulation 13(c), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))

Registration certificate and information related

  • Allowing the owner of the pharmacy to use their pharmacist registration certificate without attending the pharmacy.(( Regulation 13(d), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))
  • Giving their pharmacist registration certificate at more than one pharmacy.(( Regulation 13(e), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))
  • Not maintaining the prescription/dispensing records of patients for five years, and refusing to provide these records within 72 hours when the patient or an authorised representative makes a request.(( Regulation 13(f), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))
  • Not displaying the registration certificate accorded by the State Pharmacy Council in the pharmacy.(( Regulation 13(g), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))

Improper Conduct or Crimes

  • Committing adultery or improper conduct with a patient, or maintaining an improper association with a patient by abusing their professional position.(( Regulation 13(i), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))
  • Conviction by a court for offences involving moral turpitude or criminal acts.(( Regulation 13(j), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))
  • Using agents for procuring patients.(( Regulation 13(r), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))

Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information

  • Contributing to press articles and giving interviews regarding diseases and treatments which may have the effect of advertising or soliciting practices. However, pharmacists are free to write to the press under their own name on matters of public health and hygienic living. They can also deliver public lectures and talks under their own name, and announce the same in the press.(( Regulation 13(m), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))
  • Disclosing the secrets of a patient learnt in the exercise of their profession. However, disclosure is permitted:
    • In a court of law under orders of the presiding judicial officer;
    • In circumstances where there is a serious and identified risk to a specific person and /or community; and
    • In case of notifiable diseases.(( Regulation 13(n), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))
  • Refusing solely on religious grounds to dispense medicines on the prescription of a Registered Medical Practitioner.(( Regulation 13(o), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))
  • Publishing photographs or case reports of patients without their permission in any medical or other journal, in a manner by which the patient’s identity can be made out. However, if the identity is not disclosed, the consent is not needed.(( Regulation 13(p), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))

Further, in case a registered pharmacist is running a pharmacy and employing other pharmacists for help, the ultimate responsibility rests on the registered pharmacist.(( Regulation 13(q), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015))

This is not a complete exhaustive list of all kinds of professional misconduct. However, circumstances that are not mentioned above may also qualify as professional misconduct, and the responsible pharmacy council can take action on the same.(( Regulation 14(a), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015)) Further, this would mean that violation of any of the prescribed ethical standards of a Pharmacist, mentioned here, might also qualify as a ground for disciplinary action.

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