Online Pharmacy arrives; Chemists fighting a losing Battle

Chemists go on pan India strike on October 14 against it

Online Pharmacy arrives; Chemists fighting a losing Battle

New Delhi, October 12: Online Pharmacy is a fait accompli in India. Chemists have finally realized they are fighting a losing battle against online sale of medicines. Yet, they are going for nationwide strike on October 14 just for share of their online space.

The country’s about 8 lakh chemists are fearing their livelihood would be consumed by online behemoths namely Amazon, Flip Cart, Snap Deal, Guardian, et al, who have already started selling medicines online, albeit illegally.

All India organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), which has given the call for strike against online pharmacy, has been left with not a shade of doubt that the government has finally decided to allow online pharmacy because its memoranda given to all concerned from PM Narendra Modi to Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda to Chemical and Fertilizer Ministry to Drug Controller of India, all have drawn a complete blank. The central government’s being completely blind to e- commerce majors’ complete illegality of selling drugs before enabling amendments to Drug and Cosmetic act also hammers home the point.

The upshot of AIOCD today’s press conference was that striking chemists themselves are ready to hop onto internet business, knowing it bloody well that they cannot stop online juggernauts from entering in medicine sector, with government making up mind to give online pharmacy a go ahead. They only want their share of online space.

In the beginning, they tried to cover themselves in glory behind the façade of their worry about patients’ interest but on probing deeper, they opened up, saying they are worried about their survival in the face of online giants like Amazon, Flip Cart etc.  AIOCD President, J.S.Sinde, Secretary, Suresh Gupta, RDCA (Retailers and Distributors Chemists Association ), president, Sandeep Nangia, all confessed they know the die is cast for online pharmacy, they cannot stall it anyway, they are only worried about their livelihood. They are ready to toe the line provided the government accounts for the safety of business of 8 lakh chemists.

However, their press conference release for public consumption reads as follows.

  1. S. Shinde, President, AIOCD said, ‘ AIOCD, which has about 8 lakh members involved in the distribution of medicines across the country will protest against the online sale of drugs on 14th October, 2015 and will have the support of 8 lakh chemists from across the country

Mr.Suresh Gupta, Hon. Secretary, AIOCD, said, ‘The government should crack down any online sale of medicines as it raises the risk of misuse of drugs. Presently online pharmacy business is going illegally and Govt. authorities are not taking any action against it, hence, we have no alternative but to go on strike to protect health of general public.’

The release further says, ‘The government’s move towards regularizing the sale of medicines through the internet would increase the risk of adverse drug reaction, which will give an opening for the entry of low-quality, misbranded and spurious products. Entering of low quality products will have major setback economically to chemists.

Mr.Sandeep Nangia, President, RDCA, Delhi says,  ‘Coming out in support of the nationwide strike called by the All-India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) to protest online sale of drugs, more than 12000 chemists and wholesalers in the city will keep their shops closed on October 14 and participate in the protest at Jantar Mantar New Delhi.’

Despite the complaints by AIOCD, internet online pharmacies are supplying medicines like I-pill, MTP kits, anti-depression, etc without confirming the authenticity of the prescription and patient.

The Nationwide Bandh on 14th October, 2015 will attract the attention of Govt. and concern authorities towards the following issues:-

  • Illegal and sale of medicine in the present provision of Drugs & Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945.
  • Increase risk of adverse drug reaction
  • Easy opening to entry of low quality, misbranded and spurious medicines.
  • Big threat of irrational use of medicines.
  • Big threat of drug addiction in youth due to easy availability through internet.
  • Economic set back to about 8 lakh chemists and about 80 lakh workers and their families.
  • Impact of medicine in rural India.
  • Lack of infrastructure and man power for good governance.

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