Chemists shut shop as part of nationwide stir

Bhubaneswar: Nearly 17, 000 medicine stores affiliated to Utkal Chemists and Druggists Association (UCDA) remained shut in the state on Tuesday in support of the nationwide strike called by All India Organisation of Chemists & Druggists (AIOCD).

In the state capital, UCDA members staged a dharna before Raj Bhawan and submitted a memorandum to the President through the Governor, seeking urgent intervention to protect the interests of the chemists and druggists in the state.

“The Union Government should ease the norms related to sale and storage of medicines. We oppose the move by Union Health Ministry to regularize online sale of medicines. The association had already dismissed the proposal as completely impracticable. Considering insufficient IT infrastructure across the country, it will also be difficult for most of the stockiest, druggists and chemists to upload details on the e-portal within a stipulated time period. This will cause scarcity of medicines in the entire country,” said a UCDA member.

In Cuttack, around 2, 000 medicine shops remained open despite the strike, while chemists in nearby areas expressed their solidarity to the agitation by wearing black badges.

“Essential medicines, including life-saving drugs, have been kept ready in the hospital for emergency,” informed superintendent of SCB Medical College and Hospital Dr Shama Kanungo.

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