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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014
'Chemists are striking against harassment'
Menaka Rao, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 22, 2013
First Published: 01:36 IST(22/2/2013)
Last Updated: 01:45 IST(22/2/2013)

Claiming that no chemists have been forced to shut shop at 6pm, Hukumraj Mehta, Mumbai zone president, Maharashtra State Druggist Chemists Association, says the law is outdated.

What is your stance on the strike?
It is an individual strike, meaning each chemist shop owner is striking on his/her own accord. They are striking against the harassment by the FDA.

What is the problem in hiring a pharmacist?
The law was made at a time when medicines were mixed and given to customers. Now we get packaged medicines and there is no mixing involved. Besides, no patient has died of being prescribed wrong medicines.

You claim there is a shortage of pharmacists
There are 1.39 lakh registrations of pharmacists with the government, but the record has not been updated. Some people are dead, some are working in pharmaceutical companies, and some don't want to work. Companies are now hiring pharmacy graduates as medical representatives. Why would a graduate sit for eight hours in a medical shop?

The FDA claims the association is forcing genuine chemists to shut down?
We have not asked, let alone force anyone, to operate between 10am and 6pm only. Everybody is free to decide when and how they want to function.


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