Chemist shops across Gurgaon downed shutters on Wednesday to join the nationwide strike against the online sale of medicines.
The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists called the one-day strike to oppose the Centre’s plans to promote e-pharmacy. The sale of drugs and medicines online is not part of the legal framework in India. Licence for such sale is not issued under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. This means, an online seller cannot be held accountable in case a medicine has severe side effects or is spurious.
On Wednesday, about 60 medical stores were open in Gurgaon, including those in hospitals, officials of the drug control department said.
“Area representatives of the district chemist and druggist association have been told to arrange for medicines in case of an emergency,” a report by Amandeep Chauhan, Gurgaon drug control officer, stated.
The Haryana chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Gurgaon Nursing Home and Diagnostic Association also supported the strike. A statement by IMA states that the association discourages the online purchase of drugs without a prescription as it may sometimes be harmful.
“Currently, the sale of medicines online is not regulated. If these are of improper composition or are not taken in right doses, they can be harmful. But, no action can be taken against the seller. So, online sales should be stopped till there is a proper framework for regulating it,” Dr Devendra Arora, president of IMA Haryana, said.