Pharmaceuticals swallow a bitter pill

The All-Kerala Chemists and Druggists Association has decided to close down about 15,000 retail stores on Oct 23

Published: 11th October 2013 08:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th October 2013 08:39 AM   |  A+A-

Today is Drug Safety Day but the pharmaceuticals business in the state is in troubled waters. The clash between the drug makers and the sellers is taking its toll on the sector. As per sources, 135 medical shops in Ernakulam district alone have downed the shutters as a result of shrinkage in margins. The number is above 500 when the whole state is taken into account.

As a mark of protest against the anti-people and pro-industry policy of the Central government, The All-Kerala Chemists and Druggists Association (AKCDA) will close down about 15,000 retail pharmacy stores in the state on October 23.

Also, there are concerns about the quality of drugs in the market owing to the recent drug price control order which has brought 348 drugs under the price control regime.

AKCDA president A N Mohan said that several pharmacy stores, both retail and wholesale, have been closed and have surrendered their licence due to heavy business losses.

“Under the new price control order that came into existence, the commission of the wholesalers and retailers were reduced by 3 and 6 per cent respectively. The companies resort to double-standards as they supply medicines to the hospitals and chain stores at one rate and to the traders at another rate. As the cost is escalating it has become difficult to run the show now. We hope that more retailers would close down operations in the near future. After the implementation of the drug price control, the price of certain drugs have become two to three times more costlier. We request the government to intervene and resolve the issue,” he said.

Throwing open another aspect of issue, Ernakulam Assistant Drugs Controller, M R Pradeep said that people are concerned only with the price and availability of drugs and are completely ignoring the safety aspects.

“The safety in the manufacture of drugs and selection of raw materials and packing also affect the efficacy of a drug. Transportation without adhering to the storage conditions also may have an adverse effect,” he said.


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