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Chemists’ strike: Medical shops to remain closed today

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New Delhi, Sep 28: Medical shops across India will remain shut today as the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists Association has called for a nationwide strike against online sale of drugs.

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Chemists said they would protest any move by the Centre to allow sale of medicines via internet or e-pharmacies to operate in India in any form.

It was observed that online players were violating provisions of the Drug Act and no visible action was taken against them by the authorities concerned, chemists claimed.

Why are chemists protesting online sale of medicinesWhy are chemists protesting online sale of medicines

The Centre's draft notification on e-pharmacies says: "Any person who intends to conduct business of e-pharmacy shall apply for the grant of registration to the Central Licensing Authority in Form 18AA through the online portal of the Central government."

However, sale of tranquillisers, psychotropic drugs, narcotics and habit forming drugs have been prohibited through these portals.

There are more than nine lakh retail and wholesale chemists throughout the country.

"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 organising secretary of the AIOCD and the president of the Retail Distributors Chemists Association (RDCA).

While the drug prices have been regulated by the government, online portals offer discounts up to 70 per cent against a 10 per cent discount available at wholesalers.

The AIOCD members alleged e-pharmacies would encourage irrational usage of medicines and sale of spurious 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 health of general public," said General Secretary of the AIOCD Rajiv Singhal.

In support of the nationwide strike called by the AIOCD to protest online sale of drugs, more than 12,000 chemists and wholesalers in the city will keep their shops closed on October 14 and participate in a protest at Jantar Mantar here.

"Despite the complaints made by the AIOCD, online pharmacies are supplying the goods like MTP kits and anti-depression drugs among others without confirming the authenticity of the prescription and patient," said Vice President of the AIOCD Surender Duggal.

OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)

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