8,000 drugstores shut up shop in City to protest e-pharmacy

8,000 drugstores shut up shop in City to protest e-pharmacy

Pharmacies across Karnataka, except those in hospitals, remained closed all day long on Wednesday as part of a nationwide protest by the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists demanding a ban on the “illegal” sale of medicines online.

As many as 26,000 drugstores across the State, including more than 8,000 in Bengaluru, ceased trading. The Karnataka Chemists and Druggists Association said the stores remained closed till Wednesday midnight.

But some small drugstores in several residential areas opened for a few hours. Many patients had stocked up on their regular medicines as well as emergency drugs. Subodh Sinha, who works as a medical representative for a pharmaceutical company in the City, said many patients taking medicines for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, thyroid, diabetes, etc, had bought extra stocks in advance to avoid any emergency.

Memorandum submitted
More than 3,000 pharmacists staged a protest at the Freedom Park in the City till 1 pm and later submitted a memorandum at the chief minister’s office in his absence. The protesting chemists and wholesale providers of medicines gathered there insisted that the strike was “in public interest” since the sale of medicines on the internet was illegal, increased the risk of adverse drug reactions (side effects) and facilitated entry of low-quality, unbranded and spurious medicines. It also poses a serious threat of irrational use of habit-forming medicines, thus leading to drug addiction among the youth, said V Hari Krishnan, president of the association.

He said their delegation had met Health and Family Welfare Minister U T Khader on Tuesday who had assured that the State government would take up the matter with the Centre since the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 2014, was in the latter’s jurisdiction.

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