A nation-wide bandh has been called to protest against a proposal to regulate the sale of drugs in India.

Stock up on medicines medical shops across India to remain shut on Tuesday
news Health Sunday, May 28, 2017 - 09:26

If you’re running low on your essential medicines, you will have to buy them within the next two days as chemist shops are going to be shut across the country.

The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists have called for a nation-wide bandh on Tuesday in a protest against the online sale of drug, the Times of India reported.

However, chemist shops attached to nursing homes and, government and private hospitals will remain open.

The protest is against the proposal to regulate sale of drugs in the country.

The Union Health Ministry has proposed the setting up of an electronic platform that will track the movement of drugs from the manufacturer to the patient.

Chemists are protesting as they claim that uploading the data online every time will be a difficult task, besides it can also compromise the privacy of patients.

“Chemists have to electronically upload doctor prescriptions furnished by drug buyers within a stipulated time period on the e-portal. Lack of proper infrastructure including internet and access to computer, besides poor power supply in rural areas makes it impractical for a chemist to upload prescriptions on the e-portal. The government has to first provide facilities and proper training before coming up with such schemes. The proposal poses risk to the livelihood of Karnataka's 28,000 chemists,” Mayanna, President, Bruhath Bengaluru Chemists and Druggists Association told TOI.

However, the Karnataka government has not received any standing instructions with regard to the proposed rules from the Centre. Besides compromising the patients’ privacy, questions are also being raised over who accesses the data, the report added.

What are these rules?

All drug manufacturers must be registered on the portal and enter data regarding drug sale to distributors with the batch number, quantity supplied and expiry dates.

All distributors including stockists, wholesalers, retailers and e-pharmacies must be registered and also submit details of stocks received, supplied, sold and returned to the manufacturer.

Both government and private hospitals, and other clinical establishments or other authorised persons, will also have to enter details of medicines dispensed to patients and details of any adverse reaction. (This information will remain confidential).

These details will be entered in the e-platform including doctor’s registration number on the prescription or his/her identity number, the name and registration number of the chemist and the quantity of medicine supplied and also the patient’s identity.

These details will not be disclosed to anyone other than the central and state drug regulators or other officers authorised by the central or state governments.

E-pharmacies will also fall under these proposed rules and in addition, must have a licensed physical facility in each licencing authority’s jurisdiction.

A system of audit by regulators will be developed for ensuring compliance with the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules.


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