HYDERABAD: Telangana Chemists and Druggists Association (TCDA) on Friday, announced that a 24-hour bandh will be observed as part of which all pharmaceutical stores in Telangana would remain shut between midnight of May 29 to May 30 midnight.
Out of 25,000 pharmacies in the state which are members of the association, 6,000 are in Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The association said that the bandh is in support of the countrywide bandh called by the All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD).
The bandh is in protest against the plan of the Central government to bring all pharmacies and wholesalers of drugs across the country on a single e-portal. This was mentioned in a public notice put up in March by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Once a patient visits a pharmacy with a prescription, the pharmacist will have to upload various details like Medical Council of India (MCI) registration number of doctor, name and batch number of a drug and other details on the e-portal after which a bill will be generated. Only after this medicines will be given by the pharmacist to the patient. The government says this will help in dealing with various issues like sale of sub-standard drugs and anti-microbial resistance.
One of the main issues raised by the protesting chemists and druggists is that a majority of the pharmacies in the country are located in rural areas and towns where there is no regular power supply and internet connection is quite poor.
S Venkatapathi, President, TCDA said, “What will the people located in backward areas do if there is power cut or the internet connection is unavailable, especially if there is an emergency. Moreover, the proposed additional fee for operational charges of operating the e-platform shall be additional burden on retailers and wholesalers, especially those located in rural areas where business is low.”
Dangers of drug sale on the internet
The association is also unhappy with the government and is alleging that the Centre has plans of promoting online medicine sale. R Srinivas, general secretary, TCDA, said, it will lead to unregulated sale of addictive drugs.