E-pharmacies: chemists’ union observes nationwide strike

Against Centre’s move to regularise online pharmacies

September 29, 2018 01:51 am | Updated 01:51 am IST - NEW DELHI

The All India Organisation of Chemists & Druggists (AIOCD) went on a nationwide one-day strike on Friday to oppose the Central government’s move towards regularising e-pharmacies.

AIOCD national president J.S. Shinde said: “The seriousness of the issue is evident through numerous cases of illegal online sale of medicines by the so-called e-pharmacies and online portals. As a cautious step, the AIOCD has already observed two Bharat bandhs earlier. If the appeal does not get a positive response from the government, we will not have any other option than to call for a nationwide indefinite agitation.”

A release issued by the organisation noted while prices of drugs have been regulated by the government, online portals offer discounts up to 70% against a 10% discount offered by wholesalers.

“Allowing online sale of medicines will not only be hazardous to public health at large, but the younger generation, being tech-savvy, will also undergo irreparable damage. The government should crackdown on online sale of medicines as it raises the risk of drug abuse. Presently, the online pharmacy business is running illegally and the government authorities are not taking any action against it. Hence, we have no alternative than to go on a strike to protect health of the general public,” said AIOCD general secretary Rajiv Singhal.

The organisation also said that the government’s move towards regularising the sale of medicines through the Internet will increase the risk of adverse drug reaction, that will give an opening for entry of low-quality, misbranded and spurious products. Low-quality products will have major economic setback to about eight lakh chemists, and about 80 lakh workers and their families.

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