Odisha News Insight

UCDA observes ‘Chemists Bandh’ in Odisha

Chemists observe ‘Chemists Bandh’ in OdishaBhubaneswar, Oct 14: Over 18,000 medicine shops in Odisha remained closed on Wednesday as part of a nationwide strike of chemists against the online sale of medicines.

Protesting against the online medicine business throughout India, around 20,000 chemists of Odisha observed 24-hour ‘Chemists Bandh’ on Wednesday across the state.

Members of Utkal Chemists and Druggists Association (UCDA) submitted memorandum to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Chief Secretary GC Pati, Heath Secretary and Home Secretary and Drug Controller of Odisha. However, the medical stores located in the premises of government hospitals were operational.

The members said the online availability of medicines is bound to put youngsters in danger as it will lead to sale of medicine which are available on production of prescription across the counters.

“We are protesting against the decision of online sale of medicines. It seems the government is not aware of the adverse affects of internet pharmacy. In Odisha, over 18,000 medicine stores are against the decision,” said UCDA president Prasanta Mohapatra.

“The Centre is keen to promote e-commerce of medicines. But, the move directly violates the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940”, said Chaudhury Prabir Das, General Secretary of the association.

He added, “ The section 65(10)(A) of the Act clearly mentions that one can purchase medicine after showing the doctor’s prescription from medicine retail stores. The section 65(10)(B) of the Act says  that prescription should carry the patient’s name and address. However, such rules cannot be followed in case of online trading of medicines. Therefore, such move is not appropriate unless amendment is made to the present act”.

Notably, there is restriction on purchasing toxic drugs in India. Toxic drugs can only be provided to patients if they produce the original prescription at the medicine stores, as per the section 65(11) of the Act. The medicine retail store then puts a seal on the prescription after it is sold so that the customer cannot purchase that medicine from any other medicine store showing the same prescription. There will be no restrictions on purchasing the drugs online.

Odisha Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said adequate measures have been taken by the government to have medicines available for patients.

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