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6,000 chemists in Mumbai to down shutters from tomorrow

It would be wise for those undergoing treatment or taking prescription drugs to stock up today, as chemists have decided not to conduct business on October 16, 17 and 18 to demand that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes amendments to the Drug and Chemist Act of 1940, besides putting forth other demands.

Maharashtra Chemist and Druggist Association (MCDA) took the three-day no-business decision in coordination with Pharmaceutical Wholesalers Association (PWA), and around 6,000 chemists in the city are expected to participate.

The focus is to ensure the act is amended as it currently states that if a chemist is found indulging in any illegal act, his licence is suspended for a period of 40 days.

They feel that the suspension period is too long and should be reduced.

PWA general secretary Hukumraj Mehta, said, “Chemists have to face losses as their shop is sealed during the 40-day suspension period.
The period should be reduced as they still have to pay salaries to staff and cover other expenses whether or not they open.”

K B Shende, joint commissioner FDA, Mumbai, said, “A decision will be taken after a meeting with other senior officials. I cannot comment on anything else as it is too early to do so.”

Shende added that those in need of medicines should stock up for the next three days to avoid any inconvenience. He also said that the department would request some chemists to remain open to meet emergencies. 

The strike is expected to inconvenience everyone and to counter the problem doctors are advising people to store some medicines at home.

“Well, in case of emergency, people can store some of the basic medicines at their home. Over the counter medicines like Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Ranitidine, Dilcotenal, can be bought in advance. But medicines concerning specific illness should be consumed only after consulting the doctor, for example psychiatric medicines should only be bought and given with the prescription of psychiatrist,” said, Dr. Rahul Ghadge, consultant neuropsychiatrist at various reputed Mumbai hospitals like Kothari, Maru and Balaji.

“In the case of emergency, people don’t have to worry, the hospitals and doctors are prepared for such situations. The hospitals have their own stock of medicines and as far as the strike is concerned doctors also have some stock of medicines,” said, Dr. Shailesh Jain from Bhatia Hospital.

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