Bengal chemists to protest on Friday against e-pharmacies

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Kolkata, Sep 27 (IANS) In view of the proposed nationwide strike on Friday to demand scrapping of the Centre’s draft notification on sale of drugs by e-pharmacies, West Bengal’s chemists and druggists on Thursday said they would hold a protest march but not shut their shops.

They also urged the Centre to introduce cost-based pricing of medicines and fixing MRP of medicines fairly.

Around 3,000 protesters from the city and surrounding districts will participate in the rally and submit a memorandum to the Governor, Bengal Chemists and Druggists Association President Sankha Roychoudhury told reporters here.

“Our members will also hold rallies in the districts but will keep their pharmacies open so that customers do not face problems,” he said.

The e-pharmacies will completely shadow reporting of adverse drug reaction since the customers cannot go and exchange drugs in case there is any problem, said All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggist (AIOCD) former General Secretary Kamal Kumar Mukim.

The Centre’s draft notification on e-pharmacies says: “Any person who intends to conduct business of e-pharmacy shall apply for the grant of registration to the Central Licensing Authority in Form 18AA through the online portal of the Central government.”

There are more than nine lakh retail and wholesale chemists throughout the country.

“If the proposal is passed, lakhs of pharmacy owners will have to close down due to non-viability of operations leading to huge unemployment,” he said.

–IANS

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