PATNA: Around 35,000 retail and 20,000 wholesale chemist shops across state would remain shut for three days from Wednesday against alleged harassment and exploitation by drug inspectors in the name of inspection.
The strike has been called under the aegis of Bihar Chemist and Druggist Association. Its president PK Singh told TOI on Tuesday that drugstores supplying emergency and life-saving drugs in government and private hospitals would remain open. Earlier, it was decided to close all drugstores. “The decision was changed after receiving requests from different sections of the society,” he said.
Singh alleged that several wholesalers were being threatened by health department authorities to keep their shops open during strike period or face action like licence cancellation. “We want to tell the authorities that if they pressurise us in such manner then the three-day strike would be extended for an indefinite period. Also, we will withdraw our decision to allow emergency and life-saving drug supplying shops inside hospitals to keep open,” he said.
The association’s president said their first demand from the state government is to provide a pharmacist to each retail shop or let them continue with the old system where one pharmacist used to handle at least ten drugstores given the huge scarcity of pharmacists in state.
“Our second demand is to withdraw departmental order dated March 29 last year in which guidelines for inspecting a shop were described. We demand that if licence is granted under Drugs and Cosmetics Act then inspection be also made according to the its guidelines,” he said.
Singh further said their third demand is that drugstore owners must be given at least one chance to rectify technical errors like difference in size of signboard during inspection by health department authorities instead of taking action like licence suspension.
Meanwhile, Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries came out in support of the association’s demand on Tuesday. It requested health minister Mangal Pandey and department’s principal secretary Sanjay Kumar for sympathetically considering their demands so that they withdraw their strike.
Chamber’s president PK Agrawal conveyed to the government that chemists and druggists are part of the society and they need to be supported.-Times Of India