The chemists pointed out that the online pharmacies selling medicines at cost lower than the retail price has been unfavourable for them and has affected their business.
Almost 8.5 lakh chemists across the country went on a strike protesting against the "stringent" regulations on the sale of medicines, Shinde said and claimed that the strike was 100% successful.
Meanwhile, customers flocked to Aizawl Civil Hospital's canteen, a government run pharmacy, today to buy medicines.
The queues were a little longer at the outlets that were open and a few people who did not know about the strike were seen going in search of medical shops that were open to buy drugs.
From today midnight to tomorrow midnight all medicine stores will close across the state.
The government had in March proposed an electronic platform to regulate drug supply chain, weed out substandard medicines, monitor adverse reactions, curb overuse of antibiotics, implement drug price controls and ensure licensed doctors prescribe medicines. The government wants us to feed all information related to sale of medicines on a portal.
AN Mohanan, national vice-president of AIOCD and state president of the All-Kerala Chemists and Druggists Association, told The Hindu that they were agitating against the Union Health Ministry's e-pharmacy initiative, which would make it possible for anyone to purchase medicines online. Most chemists in Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka also shut shop in support of the nationwide shutdown. "If the government doesn't reconsider its decision on e-portal proposal, we may have to go for an indefinite strike", Shinde added.
As e-pharmacy players have been gaining serious traction, offline medical stores have been protesting against the online sale of medicines. The remaining shops were open, but employees wore black badges in protest.
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