HYDERABAD: Patients suffering from life-threatening diseases such as high blood pressure or usual ailments were in distress on Wednesday. They had to chart miles in search of medicines as a large number medical shops in the city were closed protesting against online sale of drugs and central government’s move to allow sales online.
The one-day bandh was observed in response to a nationwide call given by All India Organization for Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD). AIOCD president JS Shinde.
Online sale and easy access of medicines may fuel drug addiction among youth, increase risk of adverse drug reaction and a host of other complications, he warned. Owners of prominent medical shops in the city and those located on main roads and by-lanes have pulled down the shutters for 24 hours from the midnight of October 13. Outlets attached to hospitals, however, worked as usual.
Many people were caught unawares and ran hither and thither in search of a shop to buy essential medicines. Failing to find a shop in their neighbourhood open, some drove to major stores in Himayathnagar, only to be dismayed.
One such patient, Chalapathi, who had no inkling of the bandh, walked with the name of a medicine scribbled on a piece of paper. “I am looking for medicines for blood pressure. Is the bandh only for today?” he enquired.
Another person, Karthik, walked into a cosmetic store which appeared like a medical shop. Pointing to a person who visibly looked in pain, he said, “My friend is suffering from diarrhoea and we are looking for ORS. Why are the shops closed?” he asked.
AIOCD president Shinde said, “We will pursue the issue with the Centre for two months. We will launch an indefinite strike if there is no reaction. The online sale should be banned.”
He added that they were not totally against online sale of drugs but necessary manpower and infrastructure should be arranged by taking everybody into confidence. Else, there might be misuse of medicines because of online sale, cautioned Shinde.
General secretary of Telangana Chemists and Druggists Association’s Rangareddy unit Venugopal Sharma said that barring a few, about 8,000 medical shops in Hyderabad and Rangareddy districts were closed on Wednesday.