Free Press Journal

Mumbai chemists to protest against online pharmacies on July 16


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Mumbai: Chemists and druggists across Maharashtra have planned a protest against the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on July 16 for failing to act against online pharmacies.

“To register our objection to the rising sale of drugs and medicine online, we plan to protest at 3 pm on July 16. Nearly 1,000 chemists and druggists will gather at the Bandra-Kalanagar signal and walk to the FDA office,” said Prasad Danave, president of the Retail and Dispensing Chemist Association.

He alleged no action has been taken against online pharmacies though they are selling medicines without prescriptions, which is against the law. “There is no transparency in online sales of medicine as there are no such laws governing online portals,” Danave added.

“The government has mulled a draft proposal in this regard, which is still under consideration,” said a senior FDA official.

The president of the Maharashtra Chemists and Druggists Association, Hukumraj Mehta, said, online pharmacies are selling birth control and sleeping pills, which are not easily available at the chemist without a doctor’s prescription. However, the government is considering a law to monitor and control online pharmacies.

“Earlier, we had met FDA officials with the same demand and presented a memorandum. However, the demand went unheard. This time, associations have decided they will again go on a protest march and if no action is taken, then a statewide strike will be called after a unanimous decision,” added  Mehta.

Kailash Tandel, president of Maharashtra Registered Pharmacy Association, said, “A few months ago, Maharashtra Chemist and Druggist Association had accepted the online pharmacy model. Now they are opposed to it.”

Chemist-retailers from Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Raigad regions will be supported by chemists from across the state. However, stores will remain open on July 16 to avoid inconvenience to the needy patients.

In Mumbai, there are  6,000 chemists. Rest of the state has 70,000 chemists with 1.5 lakh employees.