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Pharmacists unable to renew their licenses in J&K for a year

Srinagar: Over the past year, the pharmacists in J&K have been unable to renew their licenses, creating a scenario where a majority of medical shops are unregistered in the UT. The new online system of licensing, the Department of Drug and Food Control Organization (DFCO) said, was in its final stages of getting updated and would solve the issues being faced.

A delegation of pharmacists and medical shop owners has told Greater Kashmir that over the past one year, their expired licenses have not been renewed. “We are without a license and registration.

Our documents are stuck and we have been running from pillar to post to no avail,” a member of the delegation said. He said that despite having all the criteria needed for a fresh registration, they have not been able to start a medical shop. “Earlier we thought the problem would get resolved in a month or two.

But now it has been over a year,” he said. The pharmacists said that many of them tried applying for fresh ones but have been able to proceed.

Many pharmacists said that they have been cutting a sorry figure or have been fined by the Drug Inspectors when their licenses have been found expired. “It is a dangerous scenario,” he said.

Prior to 2017, the registration and licensing was offline and was made online that year. The software, XLL, was employed by J&K DFCO to register and carry out other requirements of the licensing. In 2020, the J&K DFCO adopted a new system recommended by the Central Drug Authority, a senior official said.

Deputy Controller DFCO Irfana Ahmed said, license renewal is in three steps and part of the data of the pharmacists has been either offline or on the older software XLL. “We are developing a robust system to get all these details onto one platform only,” she said.

The new platform is being adopted across India and the initial issues are being resolved. The new system will have retention instead of renewal. “The license will be in perpetuity upon the payment of retention fee,” she said.

She added that the Drug Inspectors were aware of the issue and will not be fining the license expiry if the retention fee had been paid.

Tariq Masroor, who looks after the online licensing system in DFCO said that the new portal will be ready and updated in a week’s time. “Pharmacists need not worry. We are on the job,” he said.

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