Retail and wholesale pharmaceutical distributors in Bihar have resorted to a three-day shutdown to protest against strict adherence to the law on the retail and wholesale pharma business. Bihar Chemists and Druggists Association (BCDA) had announced a shut-down from 22 January to 24 January with nearly 35,000 retail and 20,000 wholesale pharmacies closing their doors in protest.
Patna: Bihar Chemist and Druggist Association has called for a 3-day statewide strike starting today, against alleged harassment and exploitation by drug inspectors in the name of inspection. pic.twitter.com/Po75MJoCJH— ANI (@ANI) January 22, 2020
बिहार में केमिस्ट एंड ड्रगिस्ट एसोसिएशन की हड़ताल, आज से तीन दिनों तक नहीं मिलेगी दवाएं, लोग परेशान. #Bihar #RJD #JDU#newsleaders #न्यूज़लीडर्स #BJP #Congress #Modi #AmitShah pic.twitter.com/MIcb2zC8CH— News Leaders (@newsleaders1) January 22, 2020
The pharmacists allege exploitation by officers of the enforcement agencies under the pretext of adherence to the law.
BCDA President P.K. Singh has announced, even pharmacies selling emergency and life-saving medicines would remain closed.
According to current laws, the sale of drugs by wholesale and retail stores can only take place in the presence of a registered pharmacist or competently trained persons as stipulated by the regulators.
BCDA said, only 7,500 trained and licensed pharmacists are available in Bihar and it was not possible for each of the 35,000 drug stores to have on-site pharmacists. “Despite being aware of the situation, drug inspectors are suspending the licences of drugstores during inspections,” Singh alleged. He added, they have a valid license from the provincial government to sell drugs.
Singh also demanded uniform guidelines for pharmacies to prevent manipulation by drug inspectors and a fair and transparent process for the cancellation of licenses and their suspension and restoration.
Meanwhile, Bihar’s Chamber of Commerce has urged the state health minister to intervene and consider the demands of the drug retailers and wholesalers. There was no response so far, from the government side to the demands of the druggists.