In a state of helplessness

NO MEDICINES

Inconvenience: Most pharmacies in the City are open for 12 to 14 hours only.

Illness does not always comes calling. And even a small infection can seem intolerable if the right medicine is not available at the right time. Unfortunately, as most shops in the City pull down their shutters at 10 pm, so do most of the medical stores in Bangalore. Twenty-four hour pharmacies are few and far in between and while hospitals in the City are open 24x7, every problem is not severe enough to call an ambulance at night. Metrolife finds out why there aren’t enough 24-hour medical shops in the City.

“There aren’t many 24-hour pharmacies in the City and there is nowhere to go if you need medicines at night,” says Neha Bajoria, a housewife. “There should be more of them in the City as this is a big issue,” says Chandar, a professional. “They are convenient in times of sickness. If you don’t have a vehicle, it is difficult to go to a hospital pharmacy at night,” says Gaurav, a software professional.

It’s a tough take to even find out if you have a 24-hour pharmacy nearby. Many websites have listed out 20 to 26 pharmacies. But most don’t pick up calls to confirm if they function 24 hours. Others have a different story to tell. “We do provide medicines at all hours but only ICU and life-saving products,” says an employee of Ashrith Life Guard, Rajajinagar. Most don’t know the exact number of 24-hour chemists when asked. The answers vary from ‘no idea’ to ‘very few’. “I am not sure about the number of 24-hour pharmacies in Bangalore,” says an employee of the 24-hour Apollo Pharmacy, Madiwala.

One reason given for this situation is — lack of manpower. The decision to function 24 hours is taken by the chemists themselves for which they have to take permission from the Drug Control Department. “But they have to function in three shifts with a qualified person for each,” says Ravindra Kumar M J, General Secretary of the Karnataka Chemist and Drug Association. But it’s not the problem of getting permit that’s holding the chemists back. “Getting the permission is not so difficult.

But there are chances of a robbery at night and there is not much of business also,” says Hitesh, who owns a medical store on Richmond Road.

Many give ‘lack of business’ as the reason. “I would require a three shift staff and a security guard to keep the shop open at night. I don’t have sufficient manpower to run the show,” says Amar, from Maruthi Medical Stores. But it’s not considered to be a big problem. “I don’t feel people are suffering because of this situation. There are plenty of medicines for everyone’s need,” says Ravindra. And what is a person supposed to do when there are no hospitals nearby? “One has to make some arrangement in such cases,” says Ravindra.

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