Sands: No risk from unaccredited pharmacists

Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.

Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.


Tribune Staff Reporter


HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands said the public faced no significant risk from people who were employed as pharmacists despite not being educated at an accredited institution.

The Pharmacy Council in 2017 refused to renew licences for people who had obtained their qualifications from the McHari Institute, ruling the council previously erred in originally issuing the licences because the institution was not accredited.

Philippa Finlayson challenged the decision but was denied Supreme Court relief, so she subsequently appealed the ruling along with 12 other applicants.

The matter is still before the Court of Appeal. However, the court denied the applicants’ application for a mandatory injunction pending appeal.

“Even if it was accepted that the applicants have some prospect of succeeding on their appeal it could not be said that it was a strong case,” Justice Roy Jones wrote. “The dominant factor in deciding whether to grant the mandatory interim injunction sought by the applicants was that the respondent’s decision was made in the exercise of its statutory powers for the public good. The public interest and the balance of convenience would not be served by granting the injunction sought by the applicants.”

Asked about the matter yesterday, Dr Sands said: “At no time do we believe there was any significant risk to the general population because there has been tremendous scrutiny over the industry as a whole.

“I think the ruling of the justices have vindicated the existence of the Pharmacy Council. The Pharmacy Council is a fairly recent addition, I believe it came into being around 2009 and shortly after coming to existence would have raised the question about a group of individuals that have trained at a local school and was granted degrees in pharmacy. The individuals would have initially been registered by the Pharmacy Council, but subsequently their registration was revoked. It has been a very contentious matter and now the court has ruled that views of the Pharmacy Council should be upheld and these individuals must now sit a licensing exam. In the meantime, they will be allowed to function as pharmacy technicians.

“This has been a very unfortunate, contentious, challenging episode. I think the courts have now spoken, we are minded to follow the judgment of the courts. Until such time as the appeal is launched however, the court’s instructions are explicit and that is that these individuals no longer have the option to have provisional licences as pharmacists to be given to them.”


TheMadHatter 4 years, 5 months ago

Save your money. Take an online course from Canada. Then go do your final 6 months training in Canada. Then live and work in Canada.
Leave the Bahaiti behind. Instead of the Govt owning up to their mistake and offering you tuition to become a pharmacist - ie. helping you - NO. They just say you have to sit an exam and they let the courts deal with you. This is what happens to Bahamians who try to get ahead in the Bahamas. They earn a degree in Time Wasting.


truetruebahamian 4 years, 5 months ago

What countries and which institutes are accredited? Are they from only the USA ? There are many other equal points of study which for reasons of policy are not recognised by the USA but equal or even many times better with higher matriculation requirements


TalRussell 4 years, 5 months ago

Understandably, not just any degree will be recognised by Pharmacy Council but rather than taking a wrecking ball to the careers the individuals, is there not a process that would allow the renewal of licences the comrade individuals to continue working whilst going through a few procedures before writing a new exam(s) to get approved to be allowed continue to remain registered and work as licensed Pharmacists in colony, yes, no ....


Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 5 months ago

Sands is always playing down very serious health risks.

I would not want a one of these individuals who wrongfully lay claim to being a qualified pharmacist involved in any way with the handling of medication prescriptions for members of my family or any of my friends. The risks here are no different than someone taking an unaccredited online course in open heart surgery and then proceeding to actually perform open heart surgery on patient with heart problems.

Most people outside of the medical profession know very little about all that a qualified pharmacist is tasked with and is responsible for. Just the wealth of knowledge needed about basic chemical compounds and conflicting medications would make one's head spin and there are many other complex areas to be mastered. The learning curve is steep and arduous.


concerned242 4 years, 5 months ago

Country doesn't have enough pharmacists right? That's why I see Cubans and Filipinos working at the clinics right? Great, so let's take away pharmacist licences from Bahamians who were granted licences almost 10 years ago and bring in more foreigners.... WAKE UP BAHAMAS


joeblow 4 years, 5 months ago

People go to African pharmacists (drug stores) and get whatever they want without a prescription anyway! Nobody regulates anything around here until there is a problem!


Bakerstuff 4 years, 5 months ago

I am sure that all these pharmacists are very well qualified after working for for many years in The Bahamian pharmacy industry....with licenses issued by the government for more than 7 years. And no doubt they would have been working in the pharmacy field for some time prior to receiving their licenses. It seems that this issue is the government’s fault for not knowing that McHari was unaccredited and now years later want to strip these fully qualified pharmacists of their licenses. This is not the pharmacists fault and is extremely unfair when there are not enough Bahamian pharmacists working in this field now. So now more foreigners need to work? What sense does that make!!!!


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