What is Pharmacy Act 1948?

What is the Pharmacy Act 1948?

A look through the pages of history indicates that man suffered from the so-called diseases in the past as he does today. The word disease literally means A state of disease or uneasiness. It is an abnormal and undesirable state and even primitive man indulged in manipulation aimed at bringing him back to normal i.e. the healthy state.

 Amongst the very many modes of treatment of diseases the most successful approach has been the administration of materials picked up from the environments to the sick man. These materials came to be known as drugs and even now continue to be the most reliable method of treatment. It is a fact that in the past many worthless materials have been administered to unsuspecting human beings under the garb of drugs in a bid to cure them of their diseases.

In fact, the very word drug originates from the French word drogue meaning secret. For a very word long time, the drugs were secrets of medicine men and persons practicing medicine and pharmacy who zealously saw it that they remained so.  However, the picture now is very different and drugs are specific and tested instruments for the cure of diseases evolved on a scientific basis.  The procurement, preparation, handling, and dispensing of drugs has always been considered a profession by itself as the other health care professionals such as ‘medicine’ and ‘nursing’. Since the health profession deals with human lives and is linked to the welfare of the rase they have been closely monitored and controlled by the governments. Every country has a number of laws to provide for the education and training of persons entering the professions of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, etc., and for control over their professional work.

What is the History of Pharmacy Act 1948?

India has been a late starter specifically with reference to the professionals of pharmacy. Up to almost the fifth decade of the 20th century, the land had no laws to exercise any control over operations related to drugs. In the earlier part of this century, anyone could prepare any drug in any way and give it to anyone and anything could happen to him without anybody being held responsible for it.

Closely on the heels of the Drugs Act legislated in 1940, an Act to upgrade and uplift the non-existent profession of pharmacy was promulgated in 1948 entitled the Pharmacy Act  1948. At that time the pharmaceutical profession was represented only by the so-called ‘compounders’ who were almost at par with the lowest cadre worker in the health profession and were not required to undergo any formal education. Anyone who could read a prescription and do some mixings in a dispensary could harbor the ambition of becoming a compounder.

The Pharmacy Act sought to correct this state of affairs and was passed with the dual objectives of formalized education and training of would-be pharmaceutical professionals and exercising control over their professional work. The Act extends to the whole of India and has been amended twice in 1959, 1976, and 1982 to cater to changing social needs.

Objectives of the Pharmacy Act 1948

As indicated above the Pharmacy Act was passed with the following objectives in view:

  1. To frame a program of education and practical training for persons desirous of entering and practicing the profession of pharmacy to ensure that such persons have a fund of knowledge and skills suitable for the practice of the profession in the modern age.
  2. To restrict the practice of the profession to such qualified and trained professionals only and to monitor their professional work.

The above objectives are envisaged to be achieved by entrusting responsibilities of education to a Central Council known as Pharmacy Council of India and by providing for constitution of Pharmacy Council in each state for registration and monitoring of Pharmacists in that state.


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