The Health Ministry is all set to introduce 30 model pharmacies in Chittagong as a pilot project to check the sales of contaminated, smuggled, duplicate and substandard drugs in the city.
Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) Chittagong will monitor the project, said Md Mozammel Hossain, assistant director of DGDA.
“These pharmacies will supply good quality drugs and inform people about the correct usage of different drugs," he said.
Mozammel said that Bangladesh manufacturers produced around 98% of the local demand and exported medicine to around 127 countries.
According to him, pharmacies will be categorised in two grades - Pharmacy and Medicine Shop. Pharmacies will have grade A pharmacists and medicine shops will have grade B or C pharmacists.
Nine model Pharmacies and 21 model Medicine Shops have received approval, said Shafikur Rahman, superintendent of drugs at DGDA, Chittagong.
They will be located in the city's Agrabad, Chawkbazar, Mehedibag, OR Nizam Road, Oxygen, Khulshi, Halishahar, Dampara, Bakalia, Lalkhan Bazar and Pahartali. The pharmacies will be easily recognised through the signboards provided by the Directorate General of Drug Administration, with a specially designed logo on it.
Ms Care & Cure Pharmacy at Oxygen is one of the nine shops that has won approval as a model pharmacy.
Its proprietor Syed Md Shah Erfan said the initiative was "a long overdue one", adding that all pharmacies should join the scheme.
A 250 sqft space is required for a model pharmacy while 120 sqft for a model Medicine Shop.
The model pharmacy will be allowed to sell all prescribed medicines including EML (Essential Medicines List), OTCs, health and hygiene promoting products, medical supplies and devices, and nutritional supplements.
The model Medicine Shop will be allowed to sell selected medicines from EML, OTCs, medical supplies and devices, nutritional supplements, and health and hygiene promoting products.
A model Pharmacy is required to use air conditioner to control temperature while a model Medicine Shop is required to use air coolers or ceiling fans or exhaust fans to control temperature.
The minimum height of the drug shops for both categories should not be less than eight feet.
A model pharmacy must accommodate a separate counselling corner where the registered pharmacists will brief the customers about the drugs and their usage.
Mohiuddin Ibne Ali, proprietor of Ms Ali Corporation, a large drugstore at Hazari Lane, said: “Pharmacy owners would feel much more encouraged to upgrade their shops if they are provided with some incentives.”
According to DGDA, there are over 10,000 licensed medicine shops in Chittagong.