Chemists shut down shops across Karnataka

Bengaluru, Oct 14 (IANS) About 25,000 medical shops and pharmacies remained closed on Wednesday across Karnataka in protest against the government’s bid to allow sale of medicines online without doctor’s prescription.

In this tech hub, a centre of e-commerce and online shopping, about 5,000 members of the Chemists and Druggists Association’s state unit held demonstrations at Freedom Park in the city centre, holding banners and placards, with slogans like ‘Ban e-pharmacy’, ‘Say no to online medicine’s’, and ‘Patients Beware’.

“We are participating in the nationwide one-day strike to create awareness in the public on dangers of buying drugs online without a doctor’s prescription, which is mandatory under the Cosmetics and Drugs Act, 1940,” association’s state unit general secretary Amanulla Khan said on the occasion.

Terming the central government’s recent order allowing sale of medicines and life-saving drugs through e-portals illegal and harmful to patients, association’s state unit president S. Manjunath asked who would be responsible if a hapless patient suffered after taking them without doctor’s prescription.

“The government’s unilateral decision to allow sale of medicines online like other merchandise without consulting other stakeholders, including offline retailers, is reprehensible as it threatens livelihood of thousands of chemists and druggists across the country,” Manjunath said.

Medical stores in state-run government hospitals, pharmacies in nursing homes and private/corporate hospitals across the state, however, remained open and witnessed more rush than on normal days.

“In view of the day-long strike, we directed dispensaries in state-run and private hospitals to equip with adequate stocks of medicines, especially essential drugs to ensure patients do not suffer for want of required medicines,” state assistant drug controller Kempaiah Suresh told reporters here.

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