Retail chemists and pharmacists in Maharashtra have decided to go on strike for three days from Monday to protest alleged harassment by government officials, say sources.
During the 72-hour shutdown, the chemists and pharmacists, including those which operate 24 hours, have threatened not to sell even "a single medicine tablet" to protest the alleged harassment by officials of the food and drugs administration (FDA)department.
According to Retail and Dispensing Chemists Association (RDCA) president Damji Palan, over 2,100 of their members have been at the receiving end of the FDA officials since the past three months when a drive against female foeticide was launched in a big way.
"The FDA have lodged police complaints against at least 35 chemists and another 2,100 have been slapped with show-cause notices prior to action," Palan said.
In a bid to check the incidence of female foeticide, FDA officials have also been carrying out regular raids and searches in chemist shops or pharmacies to check whether they had been selling abortion pills without prescription.
Some pharmacists and medicos have started advising patients in Mumbai to replenish their stock of essential medicines to avoid problems during the shutdown.
It was not clear whether pharmacies run or managed in public and private hospitals would also join the RDCA strike.