The Supreme Court of India in its landmark judgment has ordered that the Pharmacy Council of India is the supreme authority to regulate pharmacy education and for approval of pharmacy courses and institutions in the country. The court further held that pharmacy education in the country should be governed by the Pharmacy Act, 1948, and dual regulation of pharmacy colleges needs to be ended forthwith and the AICTE Act governing the general technical education would be amended to delete ‘pharmacy’ from its mandate.
The apex court also held that both the Pharmacy Act and the PCI, the statutory body constituted under it, will prevail as far as the recognition of degrees and diplomas of pharmacy education is concerned. As per the Supreme Court order, the norms and regulations set by the PCI and other specified authorities under the Pharmacy Act should be followed by any institution imparting education for degrees and diplomas in pharmacy. After detailed examination of a bunch of petitions on the difficulties faced by pharmacy institutions due to dual regulations by PCI and AICTE, the court found that both the Pharmacy Act, 1948 and the AICTE Act, 1987, contain the provisions regarding pharmacy education leading to duplication of regulations and considerable confusion at the field level.
A three judges bench unanimously decided that this dual regulation should be ended forthwith and the AICTE Act governing the general technical education would be amended deleting ‘pharmacy’ from its mandate and the pharmacy education would thereafter be governed by the Pharmacy Act, 1948.
The Supreme Court’s decision is a welcome move in a right direction as there is definitely need for a stand-alone body like the PCI which comprehends the nuances of curriculum update in a fast transforming industrial environment in the pharmaceutical world.