Medical shops closed

Mysuru:  Most of the chemist shops in Mysuru were shut this morning following the nationwide bandh called by All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists Association and the Karnataka Chemists and Druggists’ Association. The pharmacy bandh was called opposing the alleged loopholes in the draft regulations on e-pharmacies.

Across the State, over 20,000 chemists who are members of the Association (950 in Mysuru district and 600 in city) took part in the bandh by closing their shops. Stating that with the lack of stringent regulations, the online sale of drugs may lead to a rampant sale of restricted drugs. Schedule H, H1, X Narcotic drugs (like antidepressants) might get sold without verification in online portals, the striking chemists said.

However, the bandh has not been supported by all chemists. Some of the unions of the druggists functioned as usual. Government pharmacies like Jan Aushadh units and pharmacies attached to hospitals were open without interruption in services.

As part of the protest, medical shop owners under the banner of Mysuru District Chemists and Druggists Association (MDCDA) took out a protest march in city. Protesters, who assembled near Mahatma Gandhi bust in front of City Law Courts Complex, took out a protest march carrying placards to the DC office, where they submitted a memorandum.

Chemists take out a protest rally in city this morning. Picture right shows people buying medicines from Jan Aushadh Centre and a closed medical shop.

The protest was led by MDCDA President S. Kumaraswamy, General Secretary Amanulla Khan, Treasurer M. Raju, members Chandragupta Jain, Narendra Babu, Harish and others.

Dispensation of medicines only under the supervision of pharmacists, stern measures to prevent narcotic and psychotropic medicines falling into the hands of young people and ensuring availability of life-saving drugs in rural areas are some of the demands.

Amanulla Khan, speaking to Star of Mysore, e-pharmacies will affect both the chemist and the patient.

He claimed that e-pharmacies will lead to scarcity of medicines, irrational competition, and deprive chemists of their livelihood.

Representatives of the association said that the move to open up the pharmaceutical sector for foreign majors would adversely affect the prospects of the domestic industry.

While 600 medical shops in city downed the shutters today, pharmacies attached to all hospitals were dispensing medicines. Patients were also seen buying medicines at Jan Aushadh, Med Plus outlets and Janata Bazaar medical stores in city, which functioned as usual.

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