AIOCD has opposed the government’s decision to regularise online pharmacies.
Mumbai: Chemists and pharmacists will go on a nationwide strike on Friday to protest the Centre’s move to regularise online pharmacies. The state’s chem-ists have pledged their support to the day-long strike called by All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) from midnight of September 27 to September 28.
AIOCD has opposed the government’s decision to regularise online pharmacies, saying that these pose a threat to their business and may lead to drug abuse.
Recently, the central government prepared draft rules for e-pharmacies, placing them in the public domain for suggestions and objections. The draft rules were meant to regulate the online sales of medicines across India and provide patients acc-ess to genuine drugs from authentic online portals.
The draft rules required online pharmacies to be registered with and obtain a trade licence from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), which is the country’s apex drug regulator and central licensing authority. However, the AIOCD strongly opposed the draft law.
An AIOCD statement read, “Repeated appeals have been made by the AIOCD through memorandums to the authorities and to the concerned departments. The seriousness of the issue is evident through numerous cases of illegal online sales of medicines by so-called e-pharmacies and online portals.”
The statement further read, “The AIOCD has already participated in two Bharat bandhs earlier. If the appeal does not get a positive response from the government, AIOCD will not have any other option but to call a nationwide indefinite agitation. Chemist shops across the country will remain closed on September 28.”
Some chemist shops to be kept open for emergency
Patients can purchase medicines in case of emergencies at select drug stores and centres in Mumbai as the Maharashtra State Chemists and Druggists Association (MSCDA) has kept few stores open keeping the emergency needs of customers in mind.
The president of the Maharashtra Registered Pharmacist Association, Kailash Tandale,
said, “We are participating in the nationwide protest on September 28 on the issue of e-pharmacies. But, we have also decided to keep a few shops open in various areas so that the strike does not inconvenience the common people.”