DOHA: Only licensed pharmacists are authorised to dispense medicines to the public and selling medicines in the absence of a licensed pharmacist can lead to strict action against the pharmacy, including a cancellation of the licence, a senior official of the Pharmacy and Drug Control Department at the Supreme Council of Health has warned.
Dr Aisha Ibrahim Al Ansari, director of the Department, has called on the public to report if they come across such violations of the law.
“Workers in a pharmacy should not deal with medicines in the absence of the licensed pharmacist. They are not authorised to carry out this job, according to the law. Their job is to take care of the shelves, not to dispense medicines. If they are found doing that, it can lead to a cancellation of the licence (of the pharmacy),” Al Ansari said in an interview with a local Arabic daily.
She said another major violation was poor storage of medicines by suppliers and pharmacists, which has led to stern action in the past.
“Because of poor storage, sometimes medicines could become poisonous. We immediately pull out all such stocks,” said Al Ansari.
If a medicine that is supposed to be stored in a fridge is kept on a shelf, it is considered a violation and it will be removed. Such action will follow if a refrigerator in a pharmacy is not functioning.
The official said the Department had imposed a ceiling on medicine prices in Qatar after the prices went up following a lifting of government controls on prices.
There are price variations in the market because some importers are bringing medicines from neighbouring countries at lower prices.
However, most of the medicines are imported by authorised agents from the manufacturing companies at relatively higher prices.
The prices are also determined by the size of the market and the volume of sales in a country, she added.
There are 19 authorised importers and 14 agents in Qatar.
The number of public pharmacies in the country has gone up to 250 and the number of drug stores has reached 30, said the official.