Fearing a shortage of medicines since wholesalers have stopped procuring fresh supply in protest of the new drug pricing policy, the state’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent notices to about 3,900 wholesalers.
FDA officials said that wholesalers have been protesting since their profits would fall once the new policy was implemented in the end of June.
Joint commissioner, FDA, Kamlesh B Shende said, “We have learnt from our sources that wholesalers have been protesting by not buying fresh supplies of medicines. However, we have not received any official communication from them.”
The FDA has been sending letters to wholesalers, asking them to not stop buying medicines. “We just want wholesalers to maintain normalcy in the market by procuring fresh stock and not breaking the supply chain so that medicines can reach patients.”
Further, the FDA also said that while there was no immediate problem, once both retailers and wholesalers ran out of existing inventory, there was sure to be a crisis.
“Usually a retailer has stock that lasts them about a week to 10 days and a wholesaler about a month. So if this protest continues, it will lead to a serious problem,” he added.
Hukum Raj Mehta, general secretary of Pharmacists Wholesaler’s Association (PWA) explained, “It is not that we are not buying new stock. However, there are certain concerns which cannot be overlooked.” Further, wholesalers are also worried that if pharmacists go out of business, it will in turn hurt them.
“If they quit the business, the stock will come back to wholesalers. We are in the process of intimating the FDA about our concerns,” said Mehta.