NEW DELHI: Chemists across the country observed a day-long strike called by the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) to protest the Centre's move to regularise online pharmacies.
Opposing the government's decision, the AIOCD stated that e-pharmacy poses a threat to their business and could lead to drug abuse.
"Repeated appeals have been made by the AIOCD to the authorities and the departments concerned. The seriousness of the issue is evident through numerous cases of illegal online sale of medicines by so-called e-pharmacies and online portals," Organising Secretary of AIOCD Sandeep Nangia said.
"If the appeals do not get a positive response from the government, we will not have any other option than to call for a nationwide indefinite agitation," said Nangia, who is also the president of the Retail Distributors Chemists Association (RDCA).
AIOCD members alleged that e-pharmacies would encourage irrational usage of medicines and sale of spurious drugs.
"The government should crackdown on online sale of medicines as it raises the risk of drug abuse. At present, online pharmacy business is going on illegally and the government is not taking any action against it. Hence, we have no alternative than to go on a strike to protect the health of the public," AIOCD General Secretary Rajiv Singhal said.
He, however, said AIOCD had asked some chemist shops near hospitals and clinics to stay open so that people do not face inconvenience.