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Why pharmacies in Manipal shut down earlier this month?1 min read

October 31, 2015 < 1 min read

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Why pharmacies in Manipal shut down earlier this month?1 min read

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Manipal/Udupi: In response to a nation-wide bandh, called by the All-India Organization of Chemists and Druggists, privately-owned pharmacies in Manipal and Udupi, shut down their business for a day on October 14, in order to protest against e-pharmacies, a concept feared to be a threat to the livelihood of pharmacists.

Although pharmacies attached to hospitals and nursing homes were exempted, privately- owned pharmacies throughout the country remained closed for the day. In Manipal, all pharmacies remained shut, except for KMC Medical Stores, which does not give out any medicines without a prescription, leaving students in a very inconvenient position.

E-pharmacy is an initiative, reportedly taken by the Union Government to permit sale of drugs through online drugstores. The move has caused dissent among the pharmacists, who fear it will increase self medication and put them out of their jobs.

“There is no guarantee that online pharmacies will have qualified personnel working, and the competition they provide will affect jobs of pharmacists holding a diploma or bachelor’s degree. Trained people like me, may end up having no work.” said Mr. Issac Soudi, a senior pharmacist at Radha Medicals, Udupi. He further added that though e-pharmacy may work in an urban area, same cannot be said about the rural regions with limited or no internet connectivity.

Dr. Parmjoth Panda, a post graduate student at Department of Public Health, opined that e-pharmacies may lead to an increase in cases of self-medication, which has serious health effects. He said, “It can also enable people with addictions to common medications such as cough syrups or cetirizine, to access these medications with fewer restrictions.” He also raised concerns regarding the quality of medicines provided online, especially that of temperature-sensitive medications, which may need to be transported.

Edited by Gargi Kerkar