ESIC pharmacists to move SC for removal of medical professionals from holding charges of drug stores and pharmacies

The ESIC Pharmacist Association (ESICPA) is learnt to have decided to approach the Supreme Court for a direction to the Corporation to remove medical professionals from holding charges of drug stores and pharmacies in corporation-run hospitals, and appoint pharmacists in these posts. Sources from the association informed that they will wait till a decision on a pending contempt petition with Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) is come out. The contempt case is with respect to an order by CAT in November 2017 on promotional cadre creation by ESIC which is allegedly using delaying tactics in implementing the Tribunal order. The ESICPA’s prayer in the tribunal court was for creation of five promotional posts. Presently the pharmacists have only one promotion post, ie, senior pharmacist. They had wanted for promotion posts of senior pharmacist, chief pharmacist, pharmacy officer, deputy director of pharmacy and director of pharmacy. Although the Tribunal ordered the Corporation to create these posts, countering the order the Corporation filed a case in the Delhi High Court by assuring that they will create two promotional posts, senior pharmacist and chief pharmacist, and a decision on the rest would be taken later. But they did not keep their promise given to the court even after one year, following it ESICPA filed a contempt case with the CAT, said Sunil Dhankhar, chairman of the association. Slamming the Corporation for delaying in implementing the tribunal order, he said ESIC should create the promotional posts as soon as the Tribunal orders its judgment further. Similarly, it should stop giving charges of pharmacies to the doctors who are encroaching the professional rights of the pharmacists by handling the departments of drugs and pharmacies in all ESI hospitals. All over India, there are 163 ESI hospitals and 10 super specialty model hospitals are functioning. In all these health centres, the posts of ‘store manager’ and ‘assistant store manager’ are held by doctors. In addition to this, there are some non-sanctioned posts like ‘central store manager’, ‘deputy store manager’, ‘assistant store manager’, ‘store in-charge’ etc, which are also controlled by medical officers. This is against the “Norms of Staff & Equipments for ESIC Hospital and Dispensary 2011” framed under the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, Pharmacy Act and the MCI Notifications dated 11.3.2012, he said. Talking about higher grades, Dhankhar said had the corporation created the post of chief pharmacist, 62 employees would have been promoted to that post by this time, but ESIC is dragging its feet. According to him, out of the 700 direct pharmacist employees of ESIC, 400 are working in the national capital. In the five ESI hospitals in Delhi, five pharmacies and 33 dispensaries are functioning. Apart from the direct staffs of the corporation, there are state controlled staffs also working in ESI hospitals. In 22 states, the hospital staffs are appointed and controlled by respective state governments. So, the ESICPA’s demand for promotional cadres will generally make an impact on the services of the directly recruited pharmacists only. Since similar issues are faced by pharmacists in various central government hospitals, railways, defense, etc, associations of pharmacists in various hospital sectors have unanimously taken a decision to take their decades-long demands such as rationalization of staff pattern & pay-structure, creation of promotional cadres and upgrading of basic qualification for pharmacist post, etc to the union government. The associations want to establish the fact that their issues are based on human resources issue in the national health sector. Discussions in this regard will be held in the programs of pharmacy week celebrations in next week all over the country, said Sunil Dhankhar.

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