Chemists across India to shut shop today to protest online medicine sale

Updated: 29 September, 2018 08:26 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh | Mumbai

In support of the nationwide strike called by the AIOCD to protest online sale of drugs, around 8.5 lakh chemists across India will keep their shops closed on Friday

A chemist shop in Parel is shut owning to the nation-wide strike. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
A chemist shop in Parel is shut owning to the nation-wide strike. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Around 8.50 lakh chemists across India have declared a strike on Friday to protest the government's move to regularise online sale of medicines. A notification to regularise e-pharmacy was published last month. Medical shops across the nation will shut shop on September 28, starting midnight 12 am, the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has stated

The Central government had on August 28 issued draft rules on the sale of medicines 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.

Chemist Shut
A notice stuck to the shop stating the reason why the chemists have gone on strike. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

The All India Organisation of Chemist and Druggist (AIOCD), the apex body of chemists has claimed that online sale of medicines will have a negative impact on bread and butter of 8.5 lakh chemists across the country. In Mumbai, there are 6,000 chemists. Rest of the state has 70,000 chemists with 1.5 lakh employees.

Vaijanath Jagushte, Joint Secretary of the Maharashtra State chemists and druggists association (MCADA) said, "We all are against the online sale of medicines. On an average, a chemist gets to earn a maximum of 25 percent behind the sale of single medicine. The new rule will significantly reduce the revenue of around 50 lakh dependents on the same business.

chemist
Vaijanath Jagushte, Joint Secretary of the Maharashtra State chemists and druggists association (MCADA) addressing the press conference

We will observe a complete shutdown starting Thursday midnight till Friday midnight. We condemn the act as it is an easy entry of drug mafias due to insufficient manpower in Food and Drug Administration run by State regulatory authority. Such law fails to cover the larger interest."

He added, "Our association had repeatedly petitioned the central government and the concerned agencies for the past three years, but in vain. In future, our shops would be meant only for emergency purpose. Online players would openly advertise in print and electronic media violating provisions of Section 18 (c) of the Drug Act, which prohibits sale and distribution, stock, exhibit or offer for sale of drugs without a valid license. The schedule drugs, which needs to be supplied only on the prescription of a specialized practitioner such as Gynecologists, psychiatrists etc could be supplied either directly or by non-qualified practitioners."

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First Published: 28 September, 2018 08:30 IST

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