Mumbai, Oct 15: Maharashtra Food and Civil Supplies minister Girish Bapat has said the current law is inadequate to check the sale of medicines without doctors' prescription but asserted that the government is committed to check the malpractice.
The minister also said that since the one-day all India strike called by chemists and druggists had nothing against the government, it was not inclined to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against them.
Some 8.5 lakh chemists across the nation under the aegis of the All-India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) yesterday downed their shutters demanding action from the government against "illegal" online sale of medicines.
"Government is committed to ensure that patients were not cheated and that no medicine is sold without doctors' prescription. Currently, the law is inadequate in dealing with sale of medicines without doctors' prescription," he said.
Bapat said chemists and druggists have reservations about the faults in the online (sale of drugs) system, malpractices and misuse of medicines and assured that the government is working to address the issue.
"They (chemists) had reservations about the 20 to 40 per cent discount offered online. The government has assured the delegation of Chemists and Druggists association that both the Centre and state government is working towards finding solution to their problems," he said.
The minister added that the Centre has set up a committee under the chairmanship of Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr Harshadeep Kamble that is looking into complaints of chemists and druggists.
He further said the committee is expected to submit its report to the government within two to three months.
On sale of medicines without prescription, he said, the government was working out a system to have a list of doctors at state, district and local-level and their prescriptions containing registration number, signature.