Pharmacy Board: Only pharmacists, not pharmacies, got approval to continue operations

President of the Pharmacy Board Andrew Rahaman. - Photo by Sureash Cholai
President of the Pharmacy Board Andrew Rahaman. - Photo by Sureash Cholai

PHARMACY Board president Andrew Rahaman said eleventh-hour regulations issued by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh on Monday had extended the registration of the country's pharmacists but not of pharmacies. He was speaking to Newsday on Tuesday.

With pharmacists and pharmacy registrations due to having expired on Monday, Rahaman on Monday, had urged the minister to resolve the issue by agreeing to accept the signature of outgoing board secretary/registrar Sue-Ann Joseph on these documents, as a more expedient measure than amending legislation.

Deyalsingh then told Newsday he was not getting into any tit-for-tat with Rahaman. Later, a ministry statement said Deyalsingh had just signed regulations to extend the registration of paid-up pharmacists.

"The ministry assures the public that measures have been taken to ensure that there is no disruption of pharmaceutical services in either the public or the private health sector.

"So as to ensure that there is continuity of pharmaceutical services in both the public and the private health sectors, the Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, has signed the Pharmacy Board (Amendment) Regulations, 2023, which allow for a practising certificate which was valid and subsisting immediately before January 14, 2023, to remain in force until a certificate for the period January 15, 2023 to January 14, 2024, is issued, if the holder of the certificate has paid the required annual retention fee. These regulations will be published later today."

Newsday asked Rahaman if the regulations had ensured pharmacy operations were now running smoothly.

He said, "It would have gone smoothly without his input. His input was not required for it to go smoothly.

"But, with his input there is still an issue of the pharmacy licences."

Rahaman said Deyalsingh, on Monday, had dealt with practising certificates for individual pharmacists, but not with licences issued for pharmacies.

"He seems to be forgetting that there are pharmacy licences we have to get.

"But that said, it's going smoothly still and people are getting their medication and so on."

Newsday asked what Rahaman would now like to see happen.

He replied, "There's a letter he wrote to me saying he will not be accepting the registrar's signature. So what is keeping it back at the moment is that I have no correspondence from him saying that he will mow accept the registrar's signature." He said the secretary/registrar's signature goes on both a pharmacy licence and a pharmacist's practising certificate.

Newsday asked about possible drug shortages in TT's health sector (including CDAP) that he had alluded to on Monday in talking to Newsday. He said he'd have to check first.

"It have (shortages), eh, but I'd have to check that with you. But those are no big issues now."

Newsday looked at the website for the ministry and the TT Gazette, but up to press time on Tuesday did not see any publication of the regulations. The Gazette on Monday had simply listed the regulations as one of five pieces of subsidiary legislation which were listed for publication in a supplement to the Gazette.

The Gazette named the document as the Pharmacy Board (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 – (Legal Notice No. 41 of 2023).


"Pharmacy Board: Only pharmacists, not pharmacies, got approval to continue operations"

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