Goa pharmacies to join strike against online drug delivery

Panaji, Nov 4 (IANS) Calling Internet-based medicine and drug delivery portals as potential hubs for purchase of scheduled drugs and habit-forming pharmaceutical products, the Chemists and Druggists Association of Goa, will join an all-India strike of pharmacies.

President of the association’s Goa chapter Prasad Tamba told a press conference on Friday that nearly 700 pharmacies in the state would shut down for a day on November 23, in solidarity with the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists Association, which is demanding a ban on online sale of pharmaceuticals.

“We have come across instances where drugs like benzodiazepines, painkillers, aphrodisiacs are available on these e-pharmacies without proper scrutiny. Youngsters in Goa are getting hooked to these drugs,” Tamba said, adding that sale of medicines online was in contravention of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940.

“A chemist is in a position to physically vet a doctor’s prescription and further advise patients, while prescriptions uploaded to websites online could be prone to fraud and duplication. It can cause serious problems as far as Scheduled ‘H’ drugs are concerned,” he said.

Scheduled ‘H’ drugs fall under the purview of the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and can be purchased with a medical prescription only.

“Internet online pharmacies are supplying all the goods like I-pill, pregnancy prevention kits, anti-depressants, habit-forming drugs, cough syrups containing codeine, sexual stimulants etc. without confirming the authenticity of prescription and patient,” Tamba added.

Over eight lakh pharmacies in the country which are associated with the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists Association, are likely to down their shutters on November 23.