Patients suffer as pharmacies join nationwide strike

Gangtok, 28 Sept:

Patients and their family members had a difficult time today with pharmacies closed across the capital. A nationwide bandh was called today by the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) to protest the Centre's move to regularise online pharmacies.

Many patients complained of unavailability of medicines at medical stores within hospitals at STNM and CRH Tadong.

“I donot know the reason for the strike but such emergency services like medicine should not fall prey to such measures,” said a family member of a patient, Krishna Chettri.

He further stated that pharmacies have huge social responsibility and they must adhere to strict work discipline.

One such patient’s family member, SumiRai, added that her mother’s medicine is not available at both STNM and CRH Hospitals.

Expressing disappointment, she said that such strikes will not affect the government at all but the public will have to suffer.

Due to unavailability of medicines in others areas of the capital as well, there were many who went to STNM and CRH Hospitals to buy medicines.

President, All Sikkim Chemist Association, Ramesh Periwal, while speaking to the media, stated that the association fully supports the nationwide bandhprotesting against sale of medicines online.

He stated that such a move was imperative as online sale can encourage misuse of medicines without any prescription.

Further, he added that storage of medicine is a key aspect which is ignored in online medicine sale.

“If there is an emergency, we are always there for our customers and patients,” he said.

However, many family members of patients have added that online medicines are much cheaper and laws should be put in place for storage and misuse of medicines rather than opting for a blanket ban on online sale.