800,000 chemists plan to protest sale of medicine online – by shutting their own shops


Chemists in Faridabad have decided to join the nation wide strike on Wednesday called by India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists against the Centre's move to allow the sale of medicines over the Internet. However pharmacies at hospitals would remain open for patients with emergency situation. A decision in this regard was taken in a meeting of the District Chemist Association in Faridabad. Also a protest would be lodged on the online sale of items listed in the definition of Drug.

Till now online sale of Prescription Drugs is not included in the provisions of The Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. On the other hand, no law prohibits it either. However, with the rising trend of online shopping the government is considering to add the provision to sell the Drugs too in the online mode. It is precisely for this reason that the Drugs Controller General of India decided in the last week of August to set up a consultative committee to look into this matter. The objective is to create provisions in the law that will regulate online sale of drugs.

"There are 8,00,000 chemists in the country. The proposed provision of online sale of medicines would lead to all these chemists becoming unemployed", Chairman of the Association Mahendra Luthra said. He also suspected that the portals would not be selling life saving drugs which are not much costly or may reap high profits from its sale. Addressing the meeting, General Secretary of the Association Chandra Prakash Baatla said the proposed provision of online sales would also promote sale of "banned" medicines and also those sold only on doctor's prescription.

Referring to the ban on MTP Kit used in termination of pregnancy, without doctor's prescription, Baatla said, "In Delhi alone more than 350 such kits have been purchased online". Expressing his concerns, Rohit Khanduja of Haryana State Pharmacy Council said the online sale of medicines would lift any check on sale of medicines used by drug addicts.

Image Credit: Wikimedia

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