The chemists are up in arms against new rules which demand e-portal registration and updating of every purchase and sale of medicines, saying these would create hurdles in their functioning.
Karnataka's 28, 000 chemists and druggists are participating in the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD)'s nationwide strike on May 30, 2017. The relatives of the patients' were a disappointed lot as many of them had to return without purchasing the medicines.
"There is a need for the government to be pragmatic". On 12 April, over 40,000 medicine shops in Bihar shut shop.
Tamba said that the e-portal is impracticable as internet connectivity throughout the country is not strong and in such circumstances, the delay in the process will lead to chaos and trouble to the waiting patients and their relatives.
A total 8.50 million employees are directly involved in the retail pharmacy business, he said adding that 72,000 of the striking retailers are from Maharashtra.
However, traditional chemist shop owners argue that verification of drug quality online is dubious and they have even raised a flag over the possible increase in psychotropic drugs. Further, it shall hard to ascertain the credibility of the medicine provided online and the time involved in the supply, especially in a case of life-threatening emergencies. The online pharmacy will also encourage irrational usage of medicines and sale of fake drugs, the AIOCD member said.
The new norms insist on sale of medicines only on the strength of prescriptions from qualified medicos.
Moreover, in rural India there are problems of proper internet connectivity and power supply which make it hard to adhere to the new rules, Shinde said.