Pharmacists’ strike on October 14 against e-pharmacy

Mumbai, Oct 1 (IANS) Opposing the central government’s move to regularize sale of medicines over the internet through an e-pharmacy, over 800,000 medicine show owners affiliated to the All India Organisation of Chemists & Druggists (AIOCD) will go on strike on October 14, an association official said here on Thursday.

AIOCD president J.S. Shinde said their protest was in public interest since the sale of medicines through internet was illegal, increases the risk of adverse drug reactions (side-effects), and would ease entry of low quality, unbranded and spurious medicines.

Besides, it could pose a big threat of irrational use of medicines, lead to drug addiction among the youth, affect availability of medicines in rural India and prove a setback to the 800,000 plus chemists and pharmacists employing nearly eight million people, he added.

“With a 125 crore population, India is already facing huge problems of shortage of doctors practicing in modern medicine. Doctors of other branches like homoeopathy and ayurveda are also practicing and prescribing allopathic drugs. We just cannot compare ourselves with the developed countries which have necessary infrastructure and manpower for good governance,” Shinde claimed.

The AIOCD feels that in view of these issues, opening the doors of an e-pharmacy could be detrimental to the health of the population without studying the possible risks and threats associate with the move.

While online pharmacy business is going on illegally, the government authorities concerned are not taking due care or any action despite the complaints made by the AIOCD, Shinde rued.

Presently, online pharmacies accessible on internet supply I-Pills, MTP kits, anti-depressants, cough syrups, etc, without confirming the authenticity of the prescriptions or the patients, he said.

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