Kolkata: People had a harrowing time buying medicine in West Bengal on Monday as most medical stores were closed due to a rally by shop-owners to protest against opening of fair price medicine shops by the state government.
The call for the rally was given by the Bengal Chemists and Druggists` Association (BCDA).
State Minister for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya rejected the association`s demand to stall roll-out of the fair price shops and told a news agency that "such a demand is totally unjustified and goes against the patients` interests".
"How can such a demand be accepted when the government has decided to benefit the patients by making available medicines to them at a fair price," she asked.
BCDA sources said they had not called any strike, but held a rally of shop-owners demanding withdrawal of all taxes on medicines and immediate stoppage of the move to open fair price shops for medicines "which is nothing but to hoodwink patients".
They, however, claimed that some medicine shops were asked to remain open to meet emergency needs.