Chemists go on nationwide strike today over online pharmacy, regulations on sale

Ellen Mills
May 31, 2017

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. Many small pharmacy retailers are not in favour of this forced strike and are keen to work with platforms like ours, and I hope they are able to operate their businesses peacefully.

The chemist body is also likely to hold a demonstration at Jantar Mantar today. According to All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) President Jagannath Shinde, the strike is for the right reasons and has received support from all pharmacies. The online pharmacy will also encourage irrational usage of medicines and sale of fake drugs, the AIOCD member said. It had submitted a memorandum to the Union Health Ministry in this regard.

"This is an absolutely wrong idea in a country like India where it will have long-term repercussions". Which would make it possible for anyone to purchase medicines online.

Vijay Anand, president of the Chandigarh Chemists' Association, told The Indian Express, "The online service, which the government wishes to provide to patients and consumers, shall not only result in storage problems but may also affect the quality of drugs being supplied". "If the government doesn't reconsider its decision on e-portal proposal, we may have to go for an indefinite strike", Shinde added. This will prove to be expensive and cumbersome, AIOCD insists. Retail chemist shop owners claim that selling medicines online makes it hard to verify drug quality, and makes sale of psychotropic substances easier.

RDCA said almost 14,000 chemist shops were shut in Delhi alone on Tuesday but almost 3,000 were allowed to do business keeping patients' interests in mind.

The chemists pointed out that the online pharmacies selling medicines at cost lower than the retail price has been unfavourable for them and has affected their business.

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