Pharmacies to close today in protest against online sale of medicines

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Most chemist shops across India shut shop on Tuesday to protest the central government move to introduce an e-portal where the chemists would have to maintain records of their sales and purchases.In Delhi, chemist shops near big hospitals such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Lady Hardinge remained open. If online medicine business is not stopped or regulated properly then it could destroy the livelihood of the chemists, druggists and other staff in India.

Around 8.5 lakh retail chemists, druggists and pharmacies observed a nation-wide day-long strike on Tuesday to press for their various demands, an official of the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) said. According to a senior member of AIOCD, they were asked to upload all information related to sale of medicines on a portal, which they said was not possible with the existing infrastructure.

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From today midnight to tomorrow midnight all medicine stores will close across the state.

Similarly, nearest medicine stores of those hospitals in rural areas not having medicine stores inside campus will remain open.

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Earlier on February 9, AIOCD had demanded that the proposed amendments to Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1940 and permission to online sell of medicines be put on hold till the Government draft is changed. The organisation has served an advance notice to the prime minister's office, health ministry, home ministry and drug controller.

Tamba said that the e-portal is impracticable as internet connectivity throughout the country is not strong and in such circumstances, the delay in the process will lead to chaos and trouble to the waiting patients and their relatives. Further they have also cited the threat to their own business due to online pharmacy. They, however, refused to call off the strike despite intervention from the Health Ministry late on Monday evening.

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