Chemists on nationwide strike today over e-pharmacy regulations

Posted May 31, 2017

Close to 8.5 lakh privately owned chemist shops will remain shut on Tuesday after the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) have called for a nationwide protest against the Centre's plans to start e-portals for sale of drugs. Image for representation only The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), representing around nine lakh chemists, said it has made several representations to the government against the recent changes in regulations as well as unviability of their businesses. Pharmacists have been asked to upload details on the sale of medicines and also pay a transaction fee towards the cost of running the portal. The online pharmacy will also encourage irrational usage of medicines and sale of fake drugs, the AIOCD member said.

Chemists had served advanced notice to the government on May 27 putting across their concerns and informing it about the strike, the Times of India reported.

Similarly, nearest medicine stores of those hospitals in rural areas not having medicine stores inside campus will remain open.

Shalini Rajneesh, principal secretary, Health and Family Welfare, said the drugs controller had been assured by hospitals that essential medicines would continue to be dispensed.

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A total of 8.5 million employees across India are directly involved in retail pharmacy business, Jagannath Shinde, President of AIOCD, said in Mumbai.

From today midnight to tomorrow midnight all medicine stores will close across the state. If online medicine business is not stopped or regulated properly then it could wipe out the employment and income of the pharmacy trade outlets in the country. They, however, refused to call off the strike despite intervention from the Health Ministry late on Monday evening.

He said that they strongly opposed to the central government's move to regularize selling of drugs or medicines on internet or web portal by amending Drug & Cosmetics Act.