Message from the President

Mr Mogologolo Phasha

What has been an eventful year for Council in terms of delivering on its mandate, especially as it relates to standard setting and legislative review processes, is coming to a close. As we publish this issue of the Pharmaciae, I would like to reflect on a selection of Council’s work during the year under review – from how the Office operationalised certain aspects of Council’s legislative mandate to the progress made in the review of regulations and improvements to Good Pharmacy Practice.

Dear Colleagues,

For the year to date, Council processed and approved 11 513 applications for registration, comprising 840 pharmacist registration applications, 851 Community Service Pharmacist applications, 797 internship applications, 1 036 student applications, 2 179 Basic and Post-Basic Pharmacist applications, and 3 357 Learner applications, among other registration categories, including secondary roles such as Tutor and Responsible Pharmacist. During this year, we have also recommended 752 pharmacy licences. To ensure and monitor compliance with the Rules relating to Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP), we have conducted 1 951 pharmacy inspections through the Council Inspectorate.

In terms of our standard-setting efforts, the year proved progressive as we published the Competency standards for pharmacy support personnel (Board Notice 276 of 2022). This followed a sixty-day stakeholder input period afforded to the profession and all interested parties in 2021 – the comments received were considered by Council prior to the publication of the competency standards in the current year. The Competency standards for pharmacy support personnel pronounced 25 competencies across five (5) practice domains which pharmacy support personnel (PSP) across the three PSP cadres ought to be trained upon and be competent on completion of their qualification and other registration requirements. The competency standards also ensured the realignment of the Pharmacist’s Assistant (Basic) and Pharmacist’s Assistant (Post-Basic) qualifications to appropriate levels on the National Qualifications Framework.

Another milestone has been the finalisation of the publication of the scope of practice, competency standards for pharmacists providing immunisation services, and the qualification criteria for the Immunisation and Injection Technique course. Pharmacists that go through accredited courses on immunisation and injection technique are eligible to apply to the Director-General: Health for permits to provide immunisation services in terms of Section 22A(15) of the Medicines and Related Substance Act, 101 of 1965, and record their supplementary training certificates with Council to ensure the provision of these services to their communities.

Over the Council term, we have made efforts towards improving the internship opportunities available to Bachelor of Pharmacy graduates, these included approving training sites, encouraging the delegation of certain tutorship functions by registered tutors to pharmacists who are not registered as tutors and engaging national skills funding institutions such as the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) to assist pharmacies with internship funding. While these efforts have yielded tremendous results, these have not been enough to ensure equilibrium between the demand for internship positions and the supply. It is for this reason that Council has appointed a task team to address these challenges. The Internship Planning, Development and Funding of Posts Task Team has hit the ground running and has already charted a path to ensure that sufficient strides are made in the coming year to minimise and/or eliminate challenges concerning internship posts.

In this issue of the Pharmaciae, we also provide a detailed update concerning the implementation of Pharmacist-Initiated Management of Antiretroviral Treatment (PIMART). Council is currently being litigated against by a medical practitioners’ association in an attempt to derail the implementation of Pharmacist-Initiated Therapy (PIT), an age-old and core function of pharmacists recorded in all laws regulating Pharmacy in South Africa and beyond – only because those litigating us believe that PIT cannot be implemented for HIV/Aids despite it being implemented for many other ailments through the ages. Council took a decision to fight this litigation vigorously and defend the public’s right to adequate access to HIV/Aids treatment.

As I close, I wish to inform the profession that Council has finalised the drafting of inputs for the amendment to the 1998 Regulations relating to the election of members of the South African Pharmacy Council. These amendments, once approved by the Honourable Minister of Health, will be published for consultation and comment by the profession and other interested stakeholders. The main aim of the amendments is to introduce electronic/digital voting so as to eliminate the logistical challenges that are associated with snail-mail voting and to ensure maximum participation by the profession in Council elections. We are confident that these amendments would be gazetted before the date for the next Council elections.

I wish you a wonderful festive season and a prosperous 2023, may your journeys to the various holiday destinations be safe and fulfilling. Pharmacy never sleeps, and as such to the colleagues who will be providing pharmaceutical care to patients and their caregivers during this period, I wish to salute and appreciate your commitment to the calling.

Mr Mogologolo Phasha
South African Pharmacy Council

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