Strike by drug stores leaves customers hassled

Hyderabad/ Lucknow, Oct. 14 (ANI): The general public was handed over a bitter pill on Wednesday as nearly 850,000 small drug stores across the nation shut shop to protest against a burgeoning online pharmacy industry that is attracting big money backers.

Drug retailers say e-pharmacies challenge their businesses and would allow medicines that could be abused to be sold without verification. They also say the online pharmacies make it easier to use one prescription to purchase medicines numerous times.

In Hyderabad, the people who came to markets to purchase medicines were greeted with closed shutters and banners apologising to the public for the “inconvenience caused.”

A customer, Vinod Konale, was clueless about the reason behind the strike.

“I had come to the market to buy some medicines but when I reached here I saw all the chemist shops were closed. I do not know why they are closed but some people are saying that even online pharmacies are on a strike today. This causes a lot of problem for the general public. What are people supposed to do in case it is an emergency?” said Konale.

All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has even warned the government of an indefinite strike if the matter is not resolved within a week’s time.

Another customer, Sikander, said the nationwide strike has left the common man suffering.

“With chemists on strike it poses a lot of inconvenience to people. Patients of diabetes and other such ailments who require regular medication are especially affected by such things. The chemists should not have gone on a strike,” said Sikander.

AIOCD will also be organizing a street protest in New Delhi to press for their demands.

E-pharmacies on the other hand claim that they are not violating drug laws and customers needed to upload prescriptions before buying regulated drugs.

One of the major reasons driving consumer traffic to e-pharmacies is convenience as customers do not have to step out to get the medicines.

However, medical shops in hospitals and 24-hour pharmacies were not closed on Wednesday. In fact, the strike left hospital pharmacies overwhelmed as they tried to cope with an unusual rush of patients coming to buy medicines. (ANI)

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