Special Correspondent

It is to face competition from big retailers

PANAJI: To face the competition from big retailers, including malls, in the future, the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), representing over 5.5 lakh chemists and druggists, have floated a limited company and will have subsidiaries in the States to enter organised retailing.

The idea is to protect its members by entering into organised wholesaling and retailing by providing under corporate umbrella facilities such as information technology training, warehousing, marketing and information back-up.

Addressing presspersons at Calangute in south Goa on Friday ahead of its crucial three-day conference to deliberate various issues affecting the trade, J.S. Shinde, General Secretary of AIOCD, said, “The move is to protect our traders from corporate sharks and preserve our identity.”

The AIOCD was geared up to “shed its image of confrontation and instead transform itself into a professional corporate house”, said A.N. Mohan, president of AIOCD.

The name of the company, which is being floated with an investment of Rs. 20crore, is “All India Origin Chemists and Druggists Ltd. Twenty more companies at the State-level will be floated, beginning with one each in Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka. AIOCD has appointed Ernest &Young and Accenture to draft logistics and business plan for the company and its subsidiaries.

On the issue of banned drugs, the AIOCD office-bearers admitted that the circulars pertaining to banned drugs should reach pharmacies soon. But there were cases where there was a communication gap which could lead to delay in withdrawing banned drugs from the shelf. They promised that AIOCD would take up the issue with the authorities concerned.