New Delhi: In order to protest against the government decision to permit e-pharmacies, AIOCD, a representative body of around 8.5 lakh chemists in the country has decided to go on a day-long nationwide strike on September 28.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that 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 on sale of drugs by e-pharmacy stated that no person will distribute or sell, stock, exhibit or offer for sale of drugs through e-pharmacy portal unless registered. The rules call for a physical facility to provide customer support to the online customers for the pharmacy.
Allowing the e-pharmacies, the government is trying to save supply chain costs and expecting to curb down the prices of medicines by 15-30 percent. However, it poses a serious threat to the business of chemist stores that are running 24×7 and are reeling under the pressure of trade margin regulation. Chemists can make up to 16 percent margin on medicines under the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), that control the prices of medicines in the country.
Speaking with TOI, Rajiv Singhal, general secretary of the All-India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) said, “Pharmacies from across the country will remain closed from midnight September 27 to midnight September 28. The nationwide protest is aimed at highlighting the repercussions of online pharmacy initiative and educate policymakers on its dangers. Around 8.5 lakh chemists are facing livelihood risk due to an online pharmacy.”