Published: 03rd March 2021
Orissa High Court backs govt over opening of new pharmacy colleges
While issuing the direction, the bench expected the PCI to complete the exercise of taking a decision on the government’s request preferably by end of March
The dispute over the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI)’s decision to put a moratorium on the opening of new pharmacy colleges has taken a new turn with the Orissa High Court backing the State government’s stand over the issue.
Taking note of the contention of the State government, the bench of Justice Sanju Panda and Justice SK Panigrahi on February 26 said, “Since healthcare of the public is the paramount consideration of the government and as there is lack of trained professionals, this Court directs the Pharmacy Council of India and Central government to consider the matter relating to the lifting of the moratorium on the opening of new pharmacy colleges for running diploma as well as degree courses in pharmacy for a period of five years beginning from the academic year of 2020-21 as far as the State of Odisha is concerned.”
Orders were issued by the PCI on July 17,2019 and September 9,2019 to put a moratorium on the opening of new pharmacy colleges for offering diploma and degree courses in pharmacy for a period of five years beginning from the academic year 2020-21.The dispute had surfaced with the State government requesting the president of PCI to accord necessary approval/permission to the colleges for conducting DPharma/BPharma courses in the State.
In its letter on September 2, 2020, the State government further requested the PCI to also place Odisha in the exception clause of the states to which the moratorium is not applicable as in the case of north-eastern states. Though a meeting of PCI was held in December last, the request of Odisha government was not taken into consideration by the Council. The matter reached the High Court with the CV Raman Global University and Driems School and College of Pharmacy challenging the PCI decision.
The State government had submitted before the Court that analysis of the health infrastructure in the State indicated that the number of pharmacy colleges in Odisha is highly inadequate to meet the requirement of trained professionals in the field. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of paramedics is much less than the actual requirement. The State has to produce a large pool of medical professionals whose services can be utilised during such emergent situations, Director, Medical Education and Training had claimed in an affidavit.
While issuing the direction, the bench expected the PCI to complete the exercise of taking a decision on the government’s request preferably by end of March. The bench has posted the matter to April 5 to take stock of the PCI’s decision on the State government’s request.