Over 18,000 medicine shops in Odisha remained closed on Wednesday as part of a nationwide strike of chemists against the online sale of medicines.
The medicine stores under the banner of Utkal Chemists and Druggists Association (UCDA) protested the move of the government to regularize the sale of medicines through the internet.
"We are protesting against the decision of online sale of medicines. It seems the government is not aware of the adverse affects of internet pharmacy. In Odisha, over 18,000 medicine stores are against the decision," said UCDA president Prasanta Mohapatra.
UCDA secretary Prabir Das said the online sale of medicines is aimed at helping the multinationals at the expense of the entire chain of retailers, wholesalers and distributors.
He said that easy availability of habit-forming medicines would pose a big threat particularly to the youngsters while the state would lose revenue following online sale of medicines.
He pointed out that online sale of medicines will lead to unabated misuse of drugs and the government should not allow this to happen.
However, medicine stores located on the premises of hospital campuses were asked not to take part in the strike.
Odisha Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said adequate measures have been taken by the government to have medicines available for patients.