Around 6000 pharmacies in Mumbai are to be under covers to participate in a nationwide strike on to oppose the government's alleged approval of sale of medicines online.
To protest against the central government's alleged move to regularize the sale of medicines through e-pharmacies on the Internet over 8 lakh chemists across the country have called for the strike under the umbrella of the All-India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD). FDA commissioner Harshadeep Kamble said the AICOD and other affiliated associations like the Maharashtra State Chemists and Druggists Association (MSCDA) and Retail and Dispensing Chemists Association (RDCA) have told the FDA that they will be joining the strike. "The strike call is premature. A separate subcommittee has been formed under the Drugs Consultative Committee, a statutory body under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, to examine the issue," he said.
"All chemist organizations have submitted their views, which is under scrutiny. The sub-committee is studying all aspects and will submit a report soon," he said. Kamble said it would be wrong to assume that a stand has been taken against their interests. "They should withdraw the strike call in larger public interest," he said. But he added that some associations have agreed not to participate in the strike. "Pharmacies inside hospitals will also function normally," he said. Many chemists said they will take a call after seeing the situation.
AIOCD members said they will go ahead with the strike. "Internet pharmacy has emerged as a new platform for the sale of medicines over the last year. It is completely illegal and we have even appraised the higher authorities that such sale of medicines is a violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, which talks of proper prescriptions by doctors," said J S Shinde, president of AIOCD. He added that some online pharmacies are already supplying drugs, which is illegal.
Some doctors opine that online pharmacies are futuristic and should be allowed but with right checks. Many hospitals have started giving electronic prescriptions which are connected with pharmacies so that the entire process becomes online and transparent.