Strike today: Chemists down shutters across India, protest e-platform plan
More than 800,000 chemists across the country have decided to close the store on Tuesday to protest against the government’s electronic platform to regulate drug sales.
The platform is set up to ensure the supply of quality drugs and curb antimicrobial resistance, but chemists are opposed to the move. According to the plan, chemists have to download the details of all drugs purchased and sold on the electronic platform and will have to pay transaction fees to support the cost of the system.
The president of the Indian Chemical and Drugs Organization (AIOCD), Jagannath Shinde, said that the strike had one hundred percent support from Indian members and all stores, except those hospitals and outlets during the day and the Night, it will remain closed.
MedPlus, which operates 1,400 stores in southern and eastern India, said it would not participate in the strike and “try to keep all stores open.”
There are also other indications that the strike did not receive support. About 600 pharmacy owners in Tamil Nadu will wear black belts to protest but keep their stores open.
The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration’s Harshdeep Kamble Commissioner said he expects 4,000 stores a total of 45,000 in the state remain open. “I am not saying that there will be no problem, but we are prepared to deal with it.” The instructions are issued within 24 hours to keep them open.
“We are against the government’s proposal to make mandatory electronic portals for chemists. We are also against the plan to charge a pharmacy for a percent of the cost of the medicine for the maintenance of the portal,” Shinde said. He added that the burden of buying and selling daily details will be difficult in rural areas where Internet connectivity is poor.
The details of the drugs sold in the pharmacies will be downloaded also will be uploaded to the platform, and this would include details such as the doctor’s registration number. AIOCD is also against the proposal. “There are many doctors who practice Ayurveda, Homeopathy and Unani who prescribe allopathic medicines. This is a serious problem and drugs are not allowed in such orders, people in rural areas will be deprived drugs,” Shinde said.