Published On : Tue, Jun 25th, 2013

ESMA threat forces hard-nosed medicine dealers to keep stores open for eight hours

The drug stores to remain open from 2 pm to 8 pm. Panicky patients flood the medicine shops to stock the life-saving drugs in adequate.

File Photo

Nagpur News: The picture at the medicine stores in Nagpur is like a flood, albeit, of human beings, as the dealers have decided to keep their shops open for 8 hours i.e. from 2.00 pm to 10.00 pm. The adamant medicine dealers, it appears, bowed to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) recommendation to Maharashtra Government to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).

The Nagpur citizens, in a panic reaction, thronged the medicine stores in order to stock the crucial life-saving medicines adequately. The panic-reaction is the result of a prolonged agitation by the wholesale medicine dealers and retail dealers, too, in protest against the “harassment” by FDA on various issues.

Medicines come under the essential services category and if the Government invokes the ESMA then the medicine dealers would be put on the terrible edge as the ESMA has provisions of arresting the dealers, cancelling licenses of such dealers who violate the ESMA thus holding the citizens to ransom.

The stores are being stormed by the patients or their relatives for specific medicines like for blood pressure, fevers, diabetes, other common illnesses, apart from life-threatening diseases. The hundreds of patients admitted to the Government hospitals are suffering the brunt as doctors have prescribed crucial medicines to be purchased from outside following a severe shortage notwithstanding the tall claims by the authorities of adequate stocks.

The medicine dealers have charged the FDA of highhandedness without understanding the ground realities on many fronts and resorting harassments on “trivial” issues. A member of Pharmacy Council Harish Ganeshani said, a pharmacist could not work beyond 8 hours continuously that is why the dealers have decided to keep open the shops for 8 hours i.e. from 2 p. to 10 pm.


On the other hand, the FDA is also ensuring the patients should not face difficulties and is making efforts in that direction. The Assistant Commissioner of FDA Giri said, the chain store Med Plus, Apollo hospital along with other hospital attached medical stores have been directed to provide medicines to patients apart from their patients.  There are 119 such medicine stores in the city, Giri said and added that help has been sought in this regard from All India Pharmacists Association member-dealers in this regard. There are about 100 members of the Association in the Nagpur district.

The Association President Sachin Soni asserted that they will approach the patients directly through FDA and make available the life-saving medicines to them.

NO SHORTAGE: The FDA denied any shortage of crucial medicines in Nagpur even though the medicine dealers have stopped purchasing medicines from drugs manufacturing companies from June 1. Some brands may not be available but the medicines with same content are available, sources said.