The State Food and Drug Administration has issued new regulations that strictly require a pharmacist to be on-duty in drug stores and forbid pharmaceutical franchises from prescribing drugs for other stores in the name of wholesaling, the Information Times reported. In the absence of licensed pharmacists, pharmacies are not allowed to sell prescribed drugs even when customers can provide prescriptions. General Manager of Guangdong Jinkang Pharmacy, Zheng Haotao, said that the new regulations strengthen the function of pharmacists in the selling of prescribed drugs. The current regulations require two licensed pharmacists in each drug store. However, many stores take advantage of the gray area and have pharmacists rotated among several stores. In the absence of the pharmacists, many still sell prescribed drugs to customers in advanced. The pharmacists only handle some of the administrative work afterwards to make the transactions “legal”. Tao Nanping, an official with the circulation department of Guangzhou Food and Drug Administartion, commented that if the new regulation can be executed thoroughly, it will increase pharmacies’ dependency on pharmacists and thus reduce the risk of selling the wrong drugs. Since many drug retail franchises are growing rapidly with increasing bargaining power, the new regulations aim at curbing unsupervised private wholesaling. These franchises now can only supply drugs to medical institutions in the countryside under the regulator’s supervision. Drug wholesaling to other pharmacists outside the franchise is strictly prohibited. Transformations in the medium of operation are not allowed and neither are drug sales in exhibitions nor other public relations events. Zheng pointed out that some gray areas of the new regulations may encourage the behaviours that the regulator aims at curbing. For example, it is said that the promotional strategy of “buy one get one free” is not applicable to prescribed drugs, but in turn, would encourage such promotional activities of non-prescribed drugs instead. Zheng added that the regulations can help to bridge the existing legal gaps and improve drugs' categorization as well as sales management.