45,000 chemists shut shop in Telangana, Andhra

Hyderabad, Oct 14 (IANS) As many as 45,000 chemist shops in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh remained closed on Wednesday in response to a call for nationwide shutdown to protest the online sale of drugs.

The closure of medical shops caused inconvenience to people in both the Telugu states.

According to AP Chemists and Druggists Association, 25,000 pharmacies in Telangana and 20,000 in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh remained closed in response to the strike called by the All India Organisation of Chemists & Druggists (AIOCD).

The chemists also took out rallies in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana and in 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh in support of their demand for action against illegal online sale of medicines.

Holding banners and raising slogans, the medical shopowners and their employees staged protests. They alleged that the move of the government to regularise sale of medicines through Internet has serious implications for people’s health.

Stating that online sale of medicines is illegal under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the chemists voiced their apprehension that the move would also endanger livelihood of lakhs of people employed by drug stores.

The chemists have threatened to launch an indefinite strike if the government failed to curb the online sales of medicines.

In view of the strike, the Drugs Control Administration of Telangana took measures to ensure availability of medicines to people. Pharmacies in government-run hospitals and selected outlets were opened in Hyderabad and other districts to prevent inconvenience to patients.

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