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KUWAIT CITY, April 25: The parliamentary Health, Social Affairs and Labor Committee approved Sunday the proposal to amend law number 28/1996 which regulates the pharmacy profession and distribution of medicines. Committee Rapporteur MP Saadoun Hammad Al-Otaibi told reporters after the meeting that the bill stipulates revision of Article Two of the law to read as follows: “A private pharmacy shall not operate without obtaining a license from the Ministry of Health while the license to open pharmacies shall be granted only to Kuwaiti pharmacists, private hospitals with a capacity of not less than 50 beds and cooperative societies. The license should be in the name of a Kuwaiti pharmacist.”
The revised article also stipulates that the license should not be issued to a pharmacist or cooperative society which will operate more than one pharmacy and the pharmacy should not establish a branch anywhere else. However, the Ministry of Health may grant more than one license to cooperative societies, which serve more than one residential areas, to open a pharmacy or branch in each area and every license should be issued in the name of a Kuwaiti pharmacist separately.
Al-Otaibi explained that once the revised law is implemented, the private pharmacies which fail to meet the conditions set forth in this law shall be given five years to adjust their status in line with the provisions of this law, whereas the hospital pharmacies and those in cooperative societies will be given one year.
He pointed out the committee also endorsed the proposal to amend Article 17 of the law to read as follows: “A committee shall be formed by the Minister of Health to be headed by the Undersecretary or his deputy whose rank should not be less than that of the assistant undersecretary while the members include two assistant undersecretaries, head of the Pharmacy Society or his deputy and a member of the Legal Department in the ministry.
This committee will look into violations or offenses other than those mentioned in articles 14 and 15 of the law. The revised article also states that the committee has the right to impose penalties like the issuance of a warning, suspension from work for a period not exceeding one year, cancellation of the license, removal of the name from the registry and closure of the pharmacy for a period not exceeding six months.
In another development, the Public Funds Protection Committee, as a commission of inquiry looking into the decision of Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) to sell two companies specialized in agricultural products and Kuwait Company for Learning Driving, agreed to refer all those behind the sale to the Public Prosecution. Committee Chairman MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji disclosed they will investigate the circumstances behind the sale, adding that the Audit Bureau has been tasked to examine the sale documents and procedures.
He said there are indicators that some top officials in KIA are trying to sell some assets at the cheapest price, especially since the parliamentary Inquiry Commission has recommended referral of some KIA officials to the prosecution in relation to the sale of a real estate property in London.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff