Chemists on Nationwide Strike Over Center's Move to Regulate E-PharmaciesJust In

September 28, 2018 12:33
Chemists on Nationwide Strike Over Center's Move to Regulate E-Pharmacies

(Image source from: India TV)

To protest the Center's move to regularize online pharmacies, the apex body of chemists has announced a day-long nationwide strike on Friday.

The All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has opposed the government's move, stating e-pharmacy poses threat to their business and could lead to the possibility of drug abuse.

"Repeated appeals have been made by the AIOCD through memorandums to the authorities and the departments concerned. The seriousness of the issue is evident through numerous cases of illegal online sale of medicines by the so-called e-pharmacies and online portals. The AIOCD has already observed two Bharat bandhs earlier. If the appeal does not get a positive response from the government, we will not have any other option than to call for a nationwide indefinite agitation. Chemist shops across the country will remain closed on September 28," said Sandeep Nangia, the organizing secretary of the AIOCD and the president of the Retail Distributors Chemists Association (RDCA).

While the drug costs have been regulated by the government, online portals offer discounts as far as 70 percent against a 10 percent discount available at wholesalers.

The AIOCD members alleged e-pharmacies would promote unreasonable usage of medicines and sale of specious drugs. "The government should crack down any online sale of medicines as it raises the risk of drug abuse. At present, online pharmacy business is going illegally and the government is not taking any action against it, hence, we have no alternative than to go on a strike to protect the health of the general public," said General Secretary of the AIOCD Rajiv Singhal.

The Union Health Ministry, with an intent to regulate online sale of medicines across India and provide patients access to authentic drugs from reliable online portals, has come forth with draft rules on sale of drugs by e-pharmacies.  

Related content: Health Ministry Bans Hundreds of Combination Drugs

The draft rules necessitate online pharmacies to be certified with the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), the country's apex drug regulator and central licensing authority and acquire a trade license.

The supply of any drug shall be made against a cash or credit memo generated through the e-pharmacy portal and such memos shall be maintained by the e-pharmacy registration holder as a record, the draft notification said.

However, the sale of psychotropic drugs, tranquillizers, narcotics, and habit-forming drugs have been forbidden through these portals.

By Sowmya Sangam

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