Around 8 lakh chemists across India are going to close their shutters on May 30 to protest against the government’s plan to introduce e-portals to regulate the sale of medicines.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Jagannath Shinde, President of All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), which has called for the strike said the Central Health and Family Welfare Ministry’s plan to have an e-portal is impractical and will lead to scarcity of medicines in the country.
“Considering the insufficient infrastructure of information technology across the country, it will be difficult and embarrassing for most of the stockiest, druggists and chemists to upload the details of the sale on the e-portal within stipulated period,” said Shinde.
Shinde, on behalf of the AIOCD, has submitted a point wise representation to the deputy secretary of the Central Health and Family Planning Ministry (Drugs Control). “Today many parts of India, especially in rural areas, homeopaths and ayurveda practitioners prescribe allopathy medicines. If the e-portal comes, should we not sell medicines and reject such prescriptions,” questioned Shinde.
He said this will lead to frictions between chemists and patients. “If the medicines are denied on prescriptions prepared by ayurveda, unani, homeopath practitioners, rural area health care will be hit badly,” said Shinde.
He also pointed out the issue of poor internet connections in many parts of India. “Barring the urban areas, internet connection is limited or non-existent in rural and remote areas of India. It will be tough for chemists in these areas to comply with the government’s plan and make chemists upload every prescription on an e-portal,” said Shinde.
While the e-portal is aimed at addressing issues like rising antibiotic resistance in the country by regulating the sale of drugs, AIOCD said it will only increase it instead of controlling it. “We already have Food and Drugs Administration to monitor the sale of medicines. We also have regulatory machinery for recording the medicines manufactured in the country and their supply to the stockiest is in place,” said Shinde.
Another reason for protest by AIOCD is online sale of medicines. “Our strike is to bring forward the ground realities faced by chemists and patients. We request the government to rethink and cancel the implementation of the e-portal,” said Shinde.