New Delhi: The all India chemist bandh that was organised yesterday at the behest of AIOCD indeed took a nationwide character after shutters were down due to at chemist stores across the country. More than 8.5 lakh chemists across the country participated in the strike, 15,000 from Delhi.
The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) opposed the government’s decision, stating e-pharmacy poses threat to their business and could lead to the risk of drug abuse.
“Repeated appeals have been made by the AIOCD through memorandums to the authorities and the departments concerned. The seriousness of the issue is evident through numerous cases of illegal online sale of medicines by the so-called e-pharmacies and online portals.
While the drug prices have been regulated by the government, online portals offer discounts up to 70 per cent against a 10 per cent discount available at wholesalers.
The AIOCD members alleged e-pharmacies would encourage irrational usage of medicines and sale of spurious drugs.
“The government should crack down any online sale of medicines as it raises the risk of drug abuse. At present, online pharmacy business is going illegally and the government is not taking any action against it, hence, we have no alternative than to go on a strike to protect the health of the general public,” said General Secretary of the AIOCD Rajiv Singhal.
In support of the nationwide strike called by the AIOCD to protest the online sale of drugs, more than 12,000 chemists and wholesalers in the city will keep their shops closed on October 14 and participate in a protest at Jantar Mantar here.
“Despite the complaints made by the AIOCD, online pharmacies are supplying the goods like MTP kits and anti-depression drugs among others without confirming the authenticity of the prescription and patient,” said Vice President of the AIOCD Surender Duggal.
The Union Health Ministry has come out with draft rules on sale of drugs by e-pharmacies with an aim to regulate online sale of medicines across India and provide patients access to genuine drugs from authentic online portals.
The draft rules require online pharmacies to be registered with the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), the country’s apex drug regulator and central licensing authority and obtain a trade licence.
The supply of any drug shall be made against a cash or credit memo generated through the e-pharmacy portal and such memos shall be maintained by the e-pharmacy registration holder as a record, the draft notification said.
All India Nationwide strike by chemist and retailers.
In Delhi, chemist shops near big hospitals such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Lady Hardinge remained open. Shops in commercial areas such as Connaught Place opened shutters in the afternoon. Wholesale markets in Delhi’s Bhagirath Place remained shut.
“None of the wholesale shops here were open today. Bulk sales of medicines to several parts of the country happen from here. So, the entire medicine trade was affected. However, this would not have affected the hospitals as they have reserve stock and have tenders with suppliers,” said Darshan Mittal, president of the Delhi Drug Traders Association. As reported in HT
Other states also actively participated in the strike
- Similarly, around 5850 Medical shops in Bengaluru remained closed on Friday.
- Close to 35000 chemists and druggists in the state and around 3500Ahmedabad shut shop , reported Ahmedabad Mirror
- Around 30,000 pharmacies participated in a state-wide strike called by the Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association (TNCDA) opposing the online sale of drugs, said TNCDA state president K Manoharan told in TOI
- Nearly 4,000 medicine wholesale points and 22,000 retail outlets across Odisha remained shut as the Utkal Chemists and Druggists Association (UCDA) extended support to the nationwide strike called by All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD).