The top body of chemists and drugists AIOCD, which has more than 7 lakh members in the country, today called for a nationwide strike on October 14 to protest against online pharmacy.
"We have decided to go for nationwide chemists strike on October 14 to protect health of general public as well as interest of our members," All India Organisation of Chemists & Druggists (AIOCD) President JS Shinde said in a statement.
Online pharmacies in India have significantly increased due to growing e-commerce in the country. An online pharmacy is an Internet-based vendor of prescription drugs and has been increasing with the rise attributed to little regulation of the industry.
"We strongly oppose the move of the government to regularise sale of medicines through internet i.e. E-Pharmacy in the larger public interest. It is illegal to sell medicines on internet under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940," Mr Shinde said.
We should thoroughly study the risk and threats observed by the advanced countries who have allowed internet pharmacy, (despite) having necessary infrastructure and manpower, he said.
The introduction of E-Pharmacy, to protect the interest of a handful of players, would hamper the interest of eight lakh chemists and 80 lakh workers and their families, Mr Shinde said.
Presently, online pharmacy business is going on illegally and authorities are not taking any action against them on the complaints made by us, he said.
He alleged that online pharmacies are supplying all the goods like I-pill, MTP kits, anti-depression, codeine cough syrups without confirming the authenticity of prescription and patients.
The Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) had recently raided 27 online pharmacies located in Mumbai, Thane and Pune and seized drugs worth crores of rupees.