Most chemists in the city downed shutters, as they joined the nationwide strike called by the All India Organisation of Chemist and Druggists (AIOCD) to protest against the online sale of drugs. Although the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had assured a steady supply of medicines, many people suffered and had to travel long distances to buy essential medicines.
Santacruz resident Sandhya Panaskar travelled across the western suburbs to get medicines for her one-year-old. “We went to VN Desai Hospital, where they examined my child and gave one of the two drugs prescribed by the doctor. The second drug was not available at the hospital,” said Panaskar, who went to at least 10 chemist shops, only to find them shut. “We got the medicine only in the evening,” said Panaskar.
About 6.5 lakh chemists across the country went on a strike, claimed AIOCD officials.
Health care experts said e-pharmacy cannot be overlooked, as most hospitals are adopting the concept. “Many health care professionals and hospitals have started giving e-prescriptions to ensure accuracy and make it a part of their electronic medical records,” said Dr Ashish Tiwari, CEO, Zynova Hospital, Ghatkopar.
The state FDA officials said the strike did not affect patients, as pharmacies in hospitals were functioning. The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had formed an expert committee in order to look into the feasibility of online pharmacy for medicines in the context of the current guidelines and regulations.