10 July 2012
Mumbai: You may have difficulty finding medicines in case of an emergency this week, as chemists will shut shop in the evenings to oppose the crackdown on shops which do not employ full–time pharmacists. The Maharashtra state chemists and druggists association
(MSCDA) has decided that for a week from July 11, close to 50,000 chemist shops in the state will remain open only between 10am to 6pm.
According to the drugs and comestics Act, 1940, a pharmacist has to be present while medicine is being dispensed. However, chemists say they can’t retain a pharmacist on duty beyond eight hours a day. "Pharmacists charge Rs 10,000 a month. About 80% shops are small ones and can’t retain two pharmacists on round–the–clock duty,” said Vinay Shroff, state secretary, MSCDA.
FDA commissioner Mahesh Zhagade said that often pharmacists are not present when medicines are sold. "The law requires a pharmacist to be present. We cannot play with people’s lives," he said. The MSCDA has assured that some shops will be open for emergencies like cardiac arrests, accidents, poisoning and burns cases. They have threatened a bandh from July 18–20 if the state does not intervene in the matter. TNN