pharmacy-strikeCitizens and doctors both condemned Mumbai chemists for going on a strike which has affected people around the city. The chemists are at loggerheads with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the latter made it compulsory for chemists to have a qualified pharmacist at the shop while selling medicines. Angered, many chemist shops started plying their trade for only eight hours a day claiming that they couldn’t afford to keep pharmacists employed for longer. For the next few days, only 760 chemist shops like corporate chains, hospital pharmacies and owner-run ones will have to handle the workload of 6000 odd chemist shops in the city. To add to customer woes, the Navi Mumbai and Thane chemists are also set to join the protest.

FDA commissioner Mahesh Zagade said that chemists couldn’t take the law into their hands like this. In India, even during bandhs or nationwide strikes, it’s illegal for people providing critical services like medicine or transport or food to go on strike under the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA). The FDA on its drive to check for errant chemists found 399 chemist shops in the city operated without a qualified pharmacist and over 900 of them across the state didn’t have a chemist. As many as 170 shops in Mumbai and 739 across the state have been issued stop-sale notices and 50 licenses across the state have been cancelled.  

 Having a pharmacist at a shop is very important because it’s the only way to ensure that a doctor has prescribed the right drug or dosage. Zagade added that the fact that the FDA has never received a single complaint about a wrong prescription or dosage means that the safeguards aren’t in place to check whether doctors are prescribing the right drugs. He also added that all chemists had given written declarations that they would operate for 12 hours a day and the current strike was in violation of the former statement. 

The FDA on the other hand has said they won’t stop the vigorous crackdown against chemists who are operating without qualified pharmacists. ‘The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, mandates the presence of a qualified pharmacist (D.Pharm or B.Pharm) in a chemist shop to give medicines as per prescription. We will continue with the drive of cancellation and suspension of licences of chemist shops which fail to keep pharmacists or maintain transparent billing,’ Zagade added.

  • PK

    GOVERNMENT HAS TO TAKE INTEREST IN THIS SUBJECT AND MAKE NECESSARY CHANGES IN THE DRUG ACT 1940.
    THE TIME HAS TO MAKE NECESSARY CHANGES IN DRUG LAW BECAUSE THE SITUATIONS ARE TOO DIFF FROM THE PREVIOUS.

  • ANIL R BATIHIJA

    IF majority of public has to say that pharmacist is a must ,the only way out is to test the qualified pharmicst at RETAIL COUNTER OF MEDICAL STORE ,the results it self shall give you judgement .Hence instead of fighting on the issue let the case be handed over to professional body so as to give a balance solution to this problem .

  • Sushil Mahesh

    Drug Act 1940 says that the Pharmacist is necessary to dispense the drug (where the pharmacist had to mix the the different kind of drugs to prepare the formulations).Now a Days the Medical Store owner sells the packed Medicine (which has already been prepared by the drug Manufacturing Company under the supervision of PHARMACIST). Here the Medical Store Owner/ Salesman just reads the name of the Medicine prescribed by the Doctor and hands over to the patient after explaining the patient the dosage, if any doubt, the chemist asks patient to revert back to the Doctor.The Role of the Pharmacist in the Modern Retail Shop is almost Negligible.

  • Dr Ramesh Reddy

    The action of FDA is justified .As per Drug and Cosmetic Act it is mandatory to have a Pharmacist to dispense the drugs.As per rule the doctors are suppose to write only generic names of drugs.How can a lay man without pharmacy degree will be able to dispense the drugs .All schedule H drugs should not be dispensed without a Doctors prescription.After dispensing the drugs they should put a stamp on the prescription and mention the date of selling the drugs.That prescription should not be used again.But our Medical Shops have scant respect for Drug Control Act.We should appreciate the official who is trying to impose these rules strictly.This is necessary keeping a common mans health in view and this should be done all over India.Only answer to stop this menace is Starting Generic Drug stores which sell drugs at almost 30-40 % of the rate compared to a branded one.

  • NA

    It has been sounded out a big event by goverment. Imagine retailer paying extra 16,000-20,000 / month for 1 B-Pharm + handle his nakhras. Now he also has to realign the salary of other staff in and oaround B-Pharmist. Eventualy his cost will run him out of business. Now we as a consumer will no-longer find retail shop at next door (we see chemist shop a great help in situation of emergency) and will have to go next lane or may be to a retail mall for the same as a part of the weekend shopping. Having a B-Pharm in store is right direction but it has to been seen with a around prospective. Ultimately consumer will have to pay in either way if the cost goes up.

  • Girish vaswani

    The pharmacy shops are run by people who take on rent diplomas and degrees of pharmacy graduates who are poor and cannot afford to run medical shops of their own. Naturally these unscrupulous businessmen will never have the interests of the ill people in their hearts and will try tactics of keeping their shops closed to presurise the Govt from dealing with them with a firm hand. Substituting brands, overcharging and profiteering by 100% margins, selling near expiry medicines of third rate quality, blackmailing the pharmaceutical companies to give them schemes of 10 strips-2 strips free is common occurence.

    • Pankaj jadhav

      This is very good for public health & also for Pharmacist