Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: Medicine traders of Orissa claim that customers have no bargaining power over the `Maximum Retail Price (MRP)' printed on the packets of medicines.

Speaking at a press conference here on Wednesday, Utkal Chemists & Druggists Association (UCDA) general secretary Choudhury Prabir Kumar Das reiterated that other consumer goods and medicines cannot be treated at same parameters by customers.

According to him, consumers cannot claim right to bargain over the MRP of medicines.

He also added that the advertisements on TV 'Jaago Grahak Jaago' give wrong notion to customers that MRP of medicines can be bargained for lower price.

According to him there can be no bargain on MRP of medicines as the MRP is fixed by the Central Government.

The price of medicines for stockists, retailers and consumers is always fixed.

The members of the Ganjam & Phulbani Chemists & Druggists Association, who had organised the press conference, said as medicines were sold at the printed MRP, they have affixed 'fixed rate' signs at their shops.

Despite several comments by newsmen that `Maximum' does not mean 'Fixed' and customer can bargain to get it at lower price as per the Consumer Act, the medicine traders stuck to their point.

Statement denied

Mr. Das also denied the statement made by the state Health Minister on the floor of the Legislative Assembly that spurious drugs were being sold in the State. He said some of the drugs that were being termed fake due to their less effective were drugs that may have lost their potency to some extent due to various reasons, including storage problem.

According to him, strict action would be initiated against any member who is found to be selling spurious drugs in the State.

The UCDA has formed a company with shares from its members to capture medicine retail market to counter the entry of multinationals into medicine retail market.