Yesterday’s strike called by the joint coordination committee of the Retail & Dispensing Chemists Association and Pharmaceutical Wholesalers Association wasn’t exactly the attention-calling blow the association had envisaged it would be. Roughly half the chemists opened up for business after lunch and three-quarters breached the call by evening.
Shailesh Kale, joint commissioner, vigilance, FDA, said, “The chemist shops were closed in the morning. But 40 per cent of them opened shop by 12 pm, while 70 per cent were seen breaking the strike by 4 pm. By evening, almost all medical shops in the city were open and accessible. No consumer complaint was received, which may be taken to believe that no consumer suffered due to the strike.”’
The daylong strike was meant to be a protest against the doggedness of the Food and Drug Administration’s vigilance department in trying to implement quality control rules pertaining to sales of medicines and operation of pharmacies. Only pharmacies on hospitals premises were exempt from the strike.
When MiD DAY visited a few chemist shops in the first half of the day, most had their shutter down. After noon, however, they were back to business.
Responding to questions about the clammy response to the strike call, Prasad Danave, convener secretary of the chemists’ joint coordination committee, said, “We permitted the chemists located right outside major hospitals to open for business because we did not want the health of citizens to suffer. As of now, the strike is continuing.”
“It seems that the FDA is working under the threat of suspension to target chemists and it even implementing illegal policies. This strike is to oppose this behaviour,” said a chemist pleading anonymity.