Druggists to counter corporate sharks by opening chain shops

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Panaji, Sept 29 In a bid to counter the threat posed by the ''corporate sharks'' like the Reliance and Tatas, the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has floated a limited company to open retail/wholesale chain outlets across the country in a big way.

The organisation has also offered to sell the essential drugs with ''reduced profit margins'' if Centre ensured uniform prices of all drugs and reduced taxes to a minimum on even intravenous fluids and the states removed octroi. The drugs could be 30 per cent cheaper if the taxes were removed.

'' We have appointed Ernst and Young and Accenture as our consultants for opening our own organised retail and wholesale chain shops across the country for which several banks have come forward to finance the ventures,'' President Mr.A.N.Mohan and honorary general secretary Mr.J.S.Shinde said.

The AIOCD, they claimed, is the apex body of 5.5 lakh chemists across the country besides being the largest organisation in Asia striving for protecting the genuine interests of the trade since its inception in 1975.

Interacting with media persons on the sidelines of the organisation's 3-day Fifth Executive Committee Meeting at Calangute in north Goa today, the duo said the AIOCD has consituted a limited company recently with Rs.20 crore initial capital for opening the retail chains, beginning in Mumbai.

''This move is to preserve our identity and protest the traders from the corporate sharks which began their operations by opening retail/wholesale chain shops across the country. We evolve ourselves into a professiojal corporate house by shedding the image of confrontation,'' they said.

This apart, they said, the organisation would hold continuous medical education programmes for the people on various life threatening disorders such as Diabetis, Cancer, TB, Dengue, Chikungunya and Leptospirosis.

The programmes would also educate its own members on various aspects of the drug trade to face competition from corporate bodies besides updating their knowledge on banned drugs, various provisions related to the Indian Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

''We do not mind forming joint ventures with Wallmart or Ambanis and others in the trade for promoting the drug stores at every nook and corner of the country with reduced profit margins,''they said.

The organisation has renewed its plea for amending the Act ensuring sale of the drugs only by the valid licence holders and stringent punishment for the violators.

It has also pleaded for introduction of universal barcoding of the drugs to check sale of fake and banned drugs across the counter. The organisation has planned to open a website of its own to inform the traders on various aspects of these drugs.

India has as many as 20,000 drug manufacturers involving Rs.50,000 crore trade including Rs.18,000 crore exports and rest for trade across the counters.


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