Chemists on all-India strike today. Here's how it will impact you

Posted May 31, 2017

The government had in March proposed an electronic platform to regulate drug supply chain, weed out substandard medicines, monitor adverse reactions, curb overuse of antibiotics, implement drug price controls and ensure licensed doctors prescribe medicines. They have three reasons for this-to oppose online pharmacies, to speak up against the e-portal as mandated by the government, and to have their views on the Central drug act amendment, where the government has mandated the presence of pharmacies in all stores, be taken into consideration.

Besides a24-hour strike from 12 midnight on May 29 till 12 midnight on May 30, the chemist body is also likely to hold a demonstration at Jantar Mantar today to highlight their concerns. According to All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) President Jagannath Shinde, the strike is for the right reasons and has received support from all pharmacies.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday the president of Chemist and Druggist Association of Goa (CDAG), Prasad Tamba, said "There are 600 pharmacies in the state which will remain closed for 24 hours on May 30".

Notably, now there are total 17 thousand medicine store in Odisha.

Considering the insufficient IT infrastructure across the country, it will be hard for most of the stockists, druggists and chemists to upload details of sale of medicines on the e-portal within the stipulated period. The agitation by AIOCD is also against online sale of medicines, he said.

Shalini Rajneesh, principal secretary, Health and Family Welfare, said the drugs controller had been assured by hospitals that essential medicines would continue to be dispensed. "If the government doesn't reconsider its decision on e-portal proposal, we may have to go for an indefinite strike", Shinde added.

Shinde said the industry has already sent 80,000 objection letters to the Centre in protest against e-portal and e-pharmacy. The chemists refused to call off the strike despite intervention from the health ministry late on Monday evening.