New Delhi, May 30: To protest against strict rules on the sale of medicines in India and against online pharmacies, over 9 lakh chemists will close own their medical stores observing a 24-hour strike today. While the medical stores will stay shut for a day, emergency pharmacies in and around hospitals will remain open, Sandeep Nangia, president, Retail Distributors Chemists Association said. As per the reports, the chemists across the country are also protesting a crush on margins of retailers. The chemists across India will go on a strike starting from 12 midnight on May 29 till 12 midnight on May 30. They are also likely to hold a demonstration at Jantar Mantar on May 30.

The strike was called by All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), which represents nearly nine lakh registered chemists across the nation.

The chemists had issued an advanced notice to the government putting across their concerns and informing it about the strike. However, the chemists had to resort to a protest after the government failed to address their demands and pay heed to their concerns. They decided to go on with their strike despite home ministry’s interference late Monday evening. They have also served an advance notice to the Drug Controller Department, Health Ministry, and Prime Minister’s Office.

“We have made many representations to the government but found no positive response to our concerns. The government wants us to feed all information related to the sale of medicines on a portal. With the current infrastructure, it is not possible for us. On the other hand, with new regulations our margins are under pressure,” the organisation says, reports Oneindia.

The chemists have also said that they oppose online pharmacies since they being a threat to their own business. They have reportedly said that it is a dangerous practice and can lead to irrational usage of medicines and sale of fake drugs.

On February 9, AIOCD had demanded that amendments to Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1940. they had also demanded that online sell of medicines be put on hold till the Government draft is changed.

Chemists across India have long been demanding a hike in retailers margin which currently is 16 per cent. Retailers have also argued that the margin is inadequate. They have also said that the government and the regulator want them to maintain a certain infrastructure and facility such as air conditioning etc.