Message from the Registrar

Mr VM Tlala

As we publish the ninth volume of the Pharmaciae, the current Council is in its fourth year in a five-year term and has made great strides towards achieving its five-year strategic plan. Most strategic objectives are fully achieved, with more work having been done in 2022 to ensure the completion of the five-year mission before end-of-term. In this message, the Registrar/CEO of the South African Pharmacy Council takes stock of some of the milestones achieved in the current year, while reviewing certain operational matters.

As we bring the year to a close, we wish to thank pharmacy professionals for their service to humanity throughout the year and their exercising their profession with the highest ethical standards and dignity. Importantly, I would like to appeal to pharmacists who are yet to comply with the 2022 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements to ensure that they have submitted their six (6) CPD entries before 31 December 2022.

While most of our indicators, including pre-registration examination pass rates, the proportion of Grade A and B pharmacy inspection outcomes, and the CPD submission progress are encouraging, our professional conduct outcomes indicate that there is a need to continuously educate the profession on ethical conduct and good pharmacy practice, and, where necessary, to act decisively against unbecoming conduct that may ultimately destroy the esteem and trust that Pharmacy enjoys amongst patients and the communities it serves.

In 2022, the Office of the Registrar conducted three Pre-Registration Examinations, in March, August and October. A total of 792 candidates wrote the examination throughout the year, with an overwhelming majority achieving passing marks (712 candidates). The 2022 Pre-Registration Examination overall pass rate is 89,9%. We congratulate the 2022 Pharmacist Interns for passing their examination and also commend the staff within the Office of the Registrar who tirelessly supported the Pharmacist Interns and their Tutors on this journey. Council conducted a series of Internship Workshops, pre-registration examination webinars, and Practice Pre-Registration Examinations for all registered Pharmacist Interns throughout the year, to make the pre-registration year as smooth as possible.

In April 2022, following extensive consultation, Council published the scope of practice and competency standards for pharmacists providing immunisation services, as well as the course accreditation criteria for Immunisation and Injection Technique courses, through Board Notice 241 of 2022. Subsequent to the publication, we have assessed and accredited Immunisation and Injection technique Courses offered by the Nelson Mandela University and Health Sciences Academy. From 1 January 2023, we will not be accepting any course certificates completed after 31 December 2022 for recording, unless they were completed through accredited providers of the Immunisation and Injection Technique course.

Following two years of drafting, consultation, and the implementation of inputs from the profession and other stakeholders, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, gazetted the Regulations relating to fees payable to the South African Pharmacy Council (GNR. 2827) of Friday, 2 December 2022. The regulations have paved the way for a regulated annual fee determination environment, with the regulations pegging the maximum allowable rate of the annual fee increase to the rate of headline inflation as measured by Statistics South Africa. While this may make financial sustainability difficult and threaten the viability of certain programmes in some years, we commit ourselves to work with the profession to ensure that Council continues to competently deliver on its mandate and to advance the profession further.

In 2022, the Committee of Formal Inquiry (CFI) issued sanctions against unprofessional conduct in 27 cases. Cases concerning pharmacists and/or pharmacy owners allowing unregistered persons to handle medicines and owners operating a pharmacy without a pharmacist account for about a third of the 27 cases. I would like to reiterate that this conduct endangers the lives of the patients and Council would not hesitate to discourage it in the strongest of terms. In the current year, the CFI also imposed sanctions on four (4) Pharmacist Interns for failing to adhere to the Pre-Registration Exam declaration.

In this issue, we provide updates on Council decisions and operations that took place since the last issue, provide an overview of changes in the law affecting the practice of pharmacy, we have a guest article from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority regarding pharmacovigilance, and we also provide an update on the implementation of Pharmacist-Initiated Management of Antiretroviral Therapy (PIMART) and the teach-out periods of the current Pharmacist’s Assistant qualifications, amongst other matters of importance.

As I conclude, I wish to remind all colleagues practising pharmacy that ours is not a trade or occupation but a calling. As such, I wish to implore all persons practising pharmacy either as pharmacists or pharmacy support personnel to always show the highest amount of care and love to both patients and caregivers. More than medicines and other pharmaceutical therapies, it is love that heals. Therefore, may you impart love in all environments you find yourself in throughout the festive season, until we meet again in the new year.

Mr VM Tlala
South African Pharmacy Council

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