Changes to the Pharmacy Act to take effect in November

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By Latrishka Thomas

As of November 1st 2019, 17 amendments to the Pharmacy Act of Antigua and Barbuda will take effect.

These amendments are to further the protection of public health, according to the Pharmacy Council’s president Algernon Roberts.

He told OBSERVER media that the changes “are important, because for some time now there have been some irregular practices in Antigua that are putting the public health at risk; and, the Ministry and the Pharmacy Council, we recognize that something has to be done to minimise what is going on or to eradicate it in order to protect the public.”

He explained that the Act, first passed in 1995, will now include updates to certain regulations, processes and general standards of operation.

For example, he elaborated, “As of the first of November, no individual can import, distribute, dispense or otherwise sell any pharmaceutical in Antigua and Barbuda that is in a totally foreign language. The expectation is that on the external wrapper, whatever is in the foreign language on one side must be on the other side fully in English – not only the name of the drug; that will no longer be acceptable as of the first of November.”

In addition, Roberts said, adjustments will be made to the law as it relates to “labelling, disposal of expired pharmaceuticals, sale and distribution of poison, sale and distribution of pharmaceuticals, cancellation or suspension of licenses, prohibition of unlicensed premises as pharmacies, procedure for licensing, practicing without a license and temporary registration of pharmacists in Antigua and Barbuda” – the most critical amendments.

The amended Act will give the Pharmacy Council the authority and sole responsibility for education and other matters that pertain to pharmacists.

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