Chemists go on nationwide stir, healthcare services affected

Bhubaneswar: Closure of medicine stores since last midnight following a 24-hour nationwide strike called by All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists has affected health care in the state.

The country-wide agitation call was given to draw attention of the Central government against the e-pharmacy regulations that the Central government is deliberating upon in support of online sale of drugs.

In Odisha, the Utkal Chemists and Druggists Association (UCDA) has extended support to the agitation. Nearly 17,000 medicine store owners across the State are participating in the agitation. However, chemists in Cuttack have opted out of the strike. Around 2,000 medicine stores in Cuttack will remain open despite the strike call.

“The e-portal being set up by the Centre is an autonomous body that will charge a separate registration fee from retailers of medicine and also demand purchase and sale entries. A fee of Rs 200 per prescription will also be charged from medicine retailers. This is unacceptable. After all, in micro interiors where doctors are not ready to work and state run health facilities fail, medicine stores provide healthcare to people,” said P Satyanarayan Babu, president, UCDA.

On the other hand Health and Family Welfare secretary P K Meherda has directed authorities of medical colleges, state-run hospitals and others to remain in readiness to meet possible eventuality.