1. Ecommerce: India’s ‘chemist shops’ plan strike against e-pharmacies; shutdown to last 24 hrs

Ecommerce: India’s ‘chemist shops’ plan strike against e-pharmacies; shutdown to last 24 hrs

As many as 850,000 small chemist shops in India will go on a strike and shut down for a day next week to protest against a burgeoning online pharmacy industry that is attracting big money backers against the growing trend towards ecommerce.

By: | Updated: October 9, 2015 9:55 PM

As many as 850,000 small chemist shops in India will go on a strike and shut down for a day next week to protest against a burgeoning online pharmacy industry that is attracting big money backers against the growing trend towards ecommerce.

Healthcare provider Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd plans to start online drug sales in India, while Zigy, and Sequoia Capital-backed 1mg already have e-pharmacies to tap a retail market IMS Health says is worth about $13 billion.

Varun Gupta, head of medical affairs at 1mg said the company gets up to 60 million hits a month on its website and its mobile app has been downloaded 3.5 million times since 2012.

Indian law does not regulate e-pharmacies.

The one-day nationwide strike on Oct. 14, called by the All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) comes as a government panel started working on regulations for the sector.

Drug retailers say e-pharmacies challenge their businesses and would allow medicines that could be abused to be sold without verification. They also say the online pharmacies make it easier to use one prescription to purchase medicines numerous times.

“Our children are savvy to social media. If they put one prescription online, they will take a picture and send it to other companies to get medicines,” AIOCD President J.S. Shinde said.

The group will also organise a street protest in the capital New Delhi. An indefinite strike will be considered if the government does not stop online sales, Shinde said.

Medical shops in hospitals and 24-hour pharmacies will not be shut.

A drug regulator in the state of Maharashtra who is aware of the deliberations on the issue called AIOCD’s decision “premature” and said draft guidelines were several months away.

Regulators began checks after online retailer Snapdeal was found selling prescription medicines online without prescriptions in May. Snapdeal was forced to delist some products and sellers.

But drug sales, even at traditional shops in India, are weakly regulated. Pharmacists often sell medicines without verifying prescriptions.

E-pharmacies said they were not violating drug laws and customers needed to upload prescriptions before buying regulated drugs.

“We expect new regulations to give clarity for online players to exist,” said Hemant Bhardwaj, chief executive at Zigy.

Apollo’s Joint Managing Director Sangita Reddy told Reuters they will start online drug sales once the new regulations are finalised.

Consumers are attracted by the convenience.

“A huge database of medicines makes it a one-stop shop,” said Thongsuanmung Vualnam, a New Delhi health consultant who recently started shopping for drugs online.

  1. A
    aniket bora
    Oct 11, 2015 at 11:06 am
    E pharmacies are becoming por due to convenience and discounts both. Local pharmacies are scared of compeion and reducing their fat margins Online pharmacies are infact more secure as they offer authentic bills with each order which your local pharmacy. Also unavailability of medicines at your nearby pharmacy is another headache solved by e pharmacies
    Reply
  2. H
    Hemen Parekh
    Oct 12, 2015 at 11:41 am
    3 D - Digital Delivery of Drugs ? ( let us call it , " Dispenser " ) On 14th Oct , 8 lakh pharmacy stores will go on strike to persuade Government to prohibit of " Prescription Drugs " by e-Pharmacies such as 1mg / Zigy , not to speak of e-Com sites like Amazon / SnapDeal / Flipkart etc Reason advanced : * Online puts consumers at risk Real reason ? * Loss of jobs of 4 million persons emplo by 800,000 pharmacy stores * Loss of business worth Rs 80.000 Crores Current legal provision : * Drugs and Cosmetics Act,1940 does not prohibit online of medicines Govt response : * Set up a Committee to draft new provisions in Law to regulate online My take : * One day , everything will be sold online from web sites 10,000 Km away ! * There is no way march of EVERYTHING ONLINE can be stopped or slowed My Suggestions : * Govt to upload a Mobile App ( DISPENSER ? ) on Health Ministry web site * All doctors must download it , after proper registration / authentication * App will get embedded with full details of that doctor who uses it * Doctors to enter Patient Data in App / then enter prescribed Drug Details * Doctor will SMS app data entered , to concerned patient's mobile * Patient will SMS entered app data to mobile of Chemist of his choice * Chemist will deliver the medicine to the patient with Bill Details in App * Every action / transaction on App , will get automatically emailed to web Servers of # Health Ministry # All India Medical ociation # All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists ( AIOCD ) # Drug Controller General of India Advantages : * Jobs / business of Chemists / Druggists saved * Great convenience for patients / no need to visit Drug Store * No chance of Chemist " misinterpreting " doctor's handwriting ! * Full History of # Each Patient ( great benefit to Prescribing doctors ) # Each Drug ( great benefit to Pharma Companies ) # Each Chemist Shop ( great benefit to Govt / AIOCD / Tax Dept ) # Each Doctor ( great interest to All India Medical ociation ) Of course , I have no answer for those who will oppose my suggestion by saying : " What if either the Patient or the Doctor or the Chemist , does not have a Smart phone ? " My only answer : For the benefit of millions , let us harness the Online Delivery technology That is the only way DIGITAL INDIA can benefit the entire society Solutions to all the problems of the World are known Only Unknown are those dedicated persons determined to implement ! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- hemen parekh 12 Oct 2015 B2BmessageBlaster
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