All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has decided to go on indefinite strike by the end of this month if the government fails to comply with their demands that include a ban on online pharmacy, directing drug companies to provide revised price list of drugs as per wholesale price index (WPI) as well as taking action against pharma companies supplying banned fixed dose combination drugs in the market under the garb of Delhi High Court’s stay order.
“We have written the government seeking action against pharma companies supplying banned FDC drugs in the market on the pretext of the Delhi High Court order which granted relief to the pharmaceutical companies over their FDC ban. Of 8,000 banned FDC brands, the High Court granted a stay on ban of 100 FDC brands but the drug companies manufacturing banned FDC brands which have not been granted stay are still circulating in the market thereby creating confusion among chemists.
Chemists who are found selling banned FDCs are being penalised by state drug regulators,” said AIOCD general secretary Suresh Gupta.
On March the health ministry imposed a ban on 344 FDCs it found to be irrational and unsafe.
Besides this, we had earlier submitted a memorandum to Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) seeking its instruction to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to issue notification to pharma companies asking them to cease medicine manufacturing with batch number whose prices have been lowered as per WPI and resume supply of the drugs with revised prices, he said.
There are 20,000 formulations affected by the NPPA order. After the NPPA notification and if retailers are found selling these formulations at current prices, they are liable for prosecution.
On the other hand, manufacturers have not provided a list of revised prices of the formulations which prices were reduced as per WPI, he added.
As per the decline in the WPI by 2.7105 per cent during the year 2015, NPPA has notified on March 2, 2016 that all manufacturers of scheduled formulations having MRP lower than the ceiling price as notified including local taxes, if any, shall reduce the maximum retail prices as per the provisions of paragraph 16(4) of Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013.
Online pharmacy which could pose a threat to public health continues to be grow unabated despite DCGI order banning sale of medicine online, AIOCD general secretary said.
Last year AIOCD held a day-long bandh to protest against illegal online sale of medicine. The Bombay High Court also ordered the government to check sale of drugs online. While online pharmacy business continues to operate illegally, the government authorities concerned are not taking any action despite several complaints made by the AIOCD, he rued.
Despite several appeals, the government has not initiated steps to resolve issues pertaining to online pharmacy, FDCs and WPA, he opined.
Hence AIOCD had passed a resolution at a meeting held in Hyderabad on June 24-25 to go on indefinite strike by the end of this month if the government fails to meet their demands, Gupta concluded.