Chemists on strike from tomorrow

Starting Tuesday, around 50,000 chemist shops in the state, of which 7,000 are in Mumbai, will go on a three-day strike. The Maharashtra Chemists and Drugs Association has decided this after repeated raids and alleged harassment by FDA to crack down on illegal sale of pills for medical termination of pregnancy (MTP).

"We had to take this step after assurances from the health minister and FDA failed to end the harassment. Even when we are not involved in the sale of MTP pills, we are held responsible," said Deepak Mehta, member of the association.

The association also plans to meet FDA Minister Satej Patil and FDA Commissioner Mahesh Zagade on Monday.

To ensure that patient care is not affected, FDA has asked the head chemist in-charge and doctors of major private and government hospitals to keep chemist shops open 24X7. They have also instructed over-the-counter sections in hospitals to be kept open. "We don't want the public to suffer. Officials will visit hospitals and ensure that medicine procurement is not an issue," said K B Shende, Joint Commissioner, FDA.

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