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Why are chemists protesting online sale of medicines

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New Delhi, Sep 22: Medical shops across the country will remain closed on September 28 as part of the stir by the All India Chemists and Druggists Association against the draft rules introduced by the Centre to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, to allegedly legalise the online sales of medicines.

Representational Image

The nationwide protest is aimed at highlighting the repercussions of online pharmacy. Around 8.5 lakh chemists are facing livelihood risk due to online pharmacy, said Rajiv Singhal, general secretary, AIOCD.

Chemists strike on September 28

Once the online system comes into existence, people would be able to easily access MTP pills, psychotropic drugs by forging doctors' prescription. Fake doctors' prescriptions and spurious drugs would dominate the drug scene. It will fuel counterfeits, drug abuse especially of prescription drugs. Online pharmacies will pave the way for potential monopoly in the long term as they kill brick and mortar players by offering heavy discounts, he added.

10 reasons why chemists are protesting against the online sale of medicines

  • The government's decision can have many unintended consequences, chemists say.
  • The biggest disadvantage of online sale is that medicines are given without verifying authenticity of the prescription
  • This will not only lead to loss of business to lakhs of retail sellers but may also be hazardous to public health.
  • It will be very difficult to regulate the online portals when they violate the medicine acts.
  • Chemists also fear that capitalists may control the prices of drugs and may lead to monopoly.
  • The retailers and wholesalers will be hugely impacted due to the decision as they work on small margins.
  • People associate online sale with easy accessibility of medicine but the officials claim that it is a myth.
  • Many people claim that online sale allows much more discount than next door chemist. With E-portals already offering more than 50 per cent discounts, retailers may find it extremely difficult to survive.
  • They also said that around 8 lakh retail sellers will be in peril and one crore members will lose their means of livelihood.
  • The online drug suppliers are also accused of advertising openly which is not allowed as per the Drug Act and also encouraging doctors to create fake prescription.

Drug prices are regulated, controlled by the government with DPCO.

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