Patients relieved as several Delhi chemists remain open

New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) A majority of chemists located near major Delhi hospitals Friday decided to opt out of the nation-wide, one-day strike against the new drug policy and its impact on traders.

“We don’t want patients to suffer because of our strike,” Sandeep Nangia, president of Retailers and Distributors Chemist Association (RDCA), which is affiliated to the apex All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), told IANS.

“That’s why we have asked chemist shops near all major hospitals to remain open today, despite the strike,” he added.

Chemist shop owners near prominent hospitals like the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Safdarjung and Ram Manohar Lohia hospitals agreed.

“The strike is on, but 80 percent of the shops here are open as we cannot let patients suffer,” said Rohit Kumar of All India Medicos, near Safdarjung Hospital.

However, as neighbourhood pharmacists in residential colonies remained closed, some Delhiites, unaware of the strike, were left with no option but to visit chemist shops near the hospitals.

As per the RDCA, around 7.5 lakh chemists across India are on strike, contending that the new drug policy of the central government will reduce their profits and cause inconvenience. Demonstrations and agitations are being held in all parts of the country.

The RDCA has made four demands, which, if met, would end the stand-off.

The demands include no reduction in trade margins as proposed in the new drug policy, not making it mandatory for a chemist to have a qualified pharmacist at the shop while selling medicines, chemists not to be held responsible for errors of manufacturers, and no Foreign Direct Investment in the pharma trade.

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