Over 8 lakh chemists go on strike over government's online pharmacy regulations

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Chemists from across the country are set to go on a nationwide one-day strike on May 30 to protest stringent regulations on the sale of medicines in the country and to draw attention to the squeeze on their margins.

AIOCD president Jagannath Shinde said, "The association believes that the proposal of e-portal will lead to scarcity of medicines in the country", reported The Indian Express. The organisation will also hold a demonstration at Jantar Mantar on the same day.Drug retailers are also opposed to government's move towards allowing e-pharmacies or online sale of medicines.

Notably, now there are total 17 thousand medicine store in Odisha.

The government's e-portal plan and the quality of the D-Pharma course, which will now consider a must for wholesale chemists.

There are, at present, 1,400 registered druggist license holders in Mizoram out of which 1000 license holders opened pharmacy in different parts of the state. Pharmacies in private hospitals will cater only to in-patients.

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Shinde said the industry has already sent 80,000 objection letters to the Centre in protest against e-portal and e-pharmacy.

AN Mohanan, national vice-president of AIOCD and state president of the All-Kerala Chemists and Druggists Association, told The Hindu that they were agitating against the Union Health Ministry's e-pharmacy initiative, which would make it possible for anyone to purchase medicines online.

The department has gathered all the information about the supply of medicines in the districts. Over the years, several e-pharmacists have been working closely with the government to address this gap.

"We have been putting across our concerns for very long".

"A point to note is that the notification invited comments from all stakeholders, and is still under consideration of the ministry, so the action by AIOCD is just a very negative, premature, and unnecessary attempt to cause inconvenience".