Your Rights at the Medical Store

FOCUS

This four-page pamphlet provides crucial information on a customer’s rights at a medical store. It outlines ways to identify licenced stores and pharmacists, one’s responsibilities while visiting them and redressal mechanisms in case of complaints.

The pamphlet was curated and brought out in 2021 by public health researchers Sunil Nandraj and Pranay Lal; pharmacists Raj Vaidya and Guru Prasad Mohanta; former Deputy Drugs Controllers (India) Malay Mitra and D. Roy; doctors Paul P. Francis, Kamala Rammohan and Tarun Seem; dentist Sonali Randhawa; and Vasudev Devadasan, a lawyer.

A ‘medical store’ is defined as a retail premise which sells medicines, drugs, and ‘ancillary’ medical services to the public, and is registered under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940, and the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945. On the other hand, a ‘pharmacist’ is a trained professional registered with the State Pharmacy Council under the Pharmacy Act, 1948, who dispenses medicines and information regarding their proper use. The pamphlet notes that information regarding original licenses or registration certificates issued to stores and pharmacists can be found on the websites of state drugs control department or council.

It enumerates 12 rights that customers have at a medical store, relating to information about medicines, damaged products and more. It also discusses five consumer responsibilities, such as buying medicines from licenced providers; being courteous and respectful to the pharmacist; being watchful and filing a complaint with the local drug authority when the medicines being sold are damaged.

All complaints concerning a medical store can be directed to the relevant state’s drug control department, and those relating to a pharmacist can be lodged with the Pharmacy Council of India or the concerned State Pharmacy Council.

Originally written in English, the pamphlet has been translated into 12 Indian languages by the PARI team: Pankaj Das (Assamese); Joshua Bodhinetra (Bangla); Faiz Mohammad (Gujarati); Devesh (Hindi); Shankar N. Kenchanur (Kannada); Medha Kale (Marathi); Rennymon K. C. (Malayalam); OdishaLIVE (Odia); Kamaljit Kaur (Punjabi); Rajasangeethan (Tamil); Aparna Thota (Telugu) and Mohd. Qamar Tabrez (Urdu).

The following are excerpts from the 12 rights that the pamphlet lays down:

Right 1: Pharmacist can suggest preventive measures; recommend non-prescription medicines appropriate for your condition and refer you to the doctor if necessary.

Right 2: At the request of a consumer, the pharmacist can additionally provide Patient Information Leaflets on various illnesses/diseases and recommended medicines, or give instructions in writing, to supplement verbal information and how to store medicines, the directions for their use, and potential side effects.

Right 3: Pharmacist can check your blood pressure, instant blood sugar, and guide a consumer further on how to monitor oneself at home.

Right 4: Consumer has the right to know the name of the owner/s, the registered pharmacists, and their registration number along with other details.

Right 5: Medical stores must dispense medicines in an environment that is safe, properly lighted, well ventilated, and clean.

Right 6: Consumer has the right to be informed about the medicine’s quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard, and price and gets answers to any questions you may have regarding the medicines.

Right 7: Consumers can demand services in a confidential manner and expect that all information pertaining to their condition.

Right 8: Consumer has the right to be treated and received with respect, courtesy, dignity, professional standards, and without any bias or discrimination.

Right 9: Consumers must insist on a bill and must tally their products received against the prescription, to ensure that the right medicines at the right price and condition have been dispensed to them. The consumer must preserve the bill until they are completely used.

Right 10: Pharmacists must dispense products that are intact, valid (that is within the expiry period), stored as per specifications, and free from any damage.

Right 11: The itemized bill must include the patient’s name and address, details of the doctor, details of the product, batch number, expiry date, MRP, explanation of all charges, name, and address of the medical store, license number, and signature of the pharmacist.

Right 12: Consumers have the right to complain against a medical store or pharmacist without restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal.

Focus by Dipanjali Singh.

AUTHOR

D. Roy, Guru Prasad Mohanta, Kamala Rammohan, Malay Mitra, Paul P. Francis, Pranay Lal, Raj Vaidya, Sonali Randhawa, Sunil Nandraj, Tarun Seem and Vasudev Devadasan

COPYRIGHT

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PUBLICATION DATE

2021

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