City chemists are luring pharmacists from rural districts with accommodation and fatter salaries after the recent crackdown on stores that do not employ pharmacists.
The chemist association said around 3,000 pharmacists have been given jobs in the last fortnight, mostly by chemists trying to avoid punitive action from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Many chemists feel scarcity of accommodation could be deterring pharmacists from coming to the city. “We are trying to hire pharmacists from other districts and will also provide them with accommodation,” said Jagannath Shinde, president, Maharashtra State Chemists and Druggists Association (MSCDA).
The association has sent a circular to their district offices, stating that a ‘good salary and accommodation’ is awaiting those who decide to shift to the city.
The state pharmacy council’s office has been flooded with calls from chemists. In fact, the walls outside the council’s office in Mulund are full of advertisements. “As a council, however, we cannot get involved in the employment of pharmacists,” said Vivek Chaudhary, deputy registrar of the council.
Of the 54,000 chemists that operate in the state, 25% do not employ a pharmacist, said the MSCDA. “We are not against the law, but just want some time to hire pharmacists,” said Anil Navander, general secretary, MSCDA.
The MSCDA has sought contact details of pharmacists in different districts from the state pharmacy council. “We have mailed the district offices the pharmacists’ contact details so that they can trace and employ those in their locality,” said Navander.
Around 200 chemists were served notices in January for not having a pharmacist. Upset with the crackdown, chemists had gone on a partial shutdown, which was called off on February 22. FDA officials and the chemist association met for a meeting on Thursday, but did not reach an agreement.