Only “Qualified Pharmacists” to Give Injections Moving Forward: Egyptian Health Minister

Only “Qualified Pharmacists” to Give Injections Moving Forward: Egyptian Health Minister

A pharmacist searches for medicine at a pharmacy in Cairo, Egypt, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
A pharmacist searches for medicine at a pharmacy in Cairo, Egypt | Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egyptian Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar announced on 4 December that only “qualified pharmacists” will be allowed to administer intramuscular and subcutaneous injections to patients at pharmacies.

This marks the first time Egypt has regulated the practice.

It mandates that patients must be in possession of a prescription and that an anti-allergy medication must be available at the time of administration.

Additionally, pharmacists will be required to pass an advanced training course before being permitted to administer injections. These courses will commence soon, and medical certificates and licenses will be granted to personnel who complete them.

The decision has been issued following an incident earlier in October where two sisters died as a result of an antibiotic shot, as the pharmacist “failed” to test for allergies. Both the pharmacist and her assistant were subsequently brought into custody, facing charges of practicing medicine without a license, according to a statement issued by the Egyptian Prosecution.

The Ministry of Health coordinated with the House of Representatives’ Health Committee, the Doctors’ Syndicate, the Pharmacists Syndicate and the Egyptian Medicines Authority to bring this decree into being.

Despite being prohibited by Egyptian law, pharmacists continued to administer injections as a way of helping patients mitigate the costs of hospital visits. Currently, Cairo residents can walk into pharmacies and be administered shots for as little as 5 to 10 EGP.

Nonetheless, attitudes of leniency regarding administering shots differ across Egypt’s governorates: pharmacies in Upper Egypt are more stringent about the practice than their Delta counterpart.

However, following the deaths in October, the practice has been halted in wake of potential prosecution.

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With a heart for radio and an appetite for culture, Mona is a writer and illustrator based in Cairo. At the Erasmus University Rotterdam, she obtained a BSc and MA in Media, Culture, and Society, while actively writing for the faculty magazine. After graduating, Mona was an academic advisor at the American University in Cairo, as well as Managing Director of a small, campus-based advertising firm. Gears shifting, her knack for cultural research took over - enter: Egyptian Streets. Mona’s focus is tapered to issues of identity politics, culture, and social architecture.

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