With Goods and Services Tax (GST) all set to come into force from July 1, chemists believe that there may be a shortage of medicines in the city. Reason: There is an uncertainty among the chemists ahead of GST rollout and they are not procuring any fresh medicines.
Chemists say as their old stock is slowly coming to an end, they are not procuring fresh supply in order to prevent losses. “Everyone is waiting for the situation to unfold from July 1. There is no shortage of medicines currently, but with each passing day, there is a possibility that city may face medicine shortage,” Vijay Anand. president of the Chandigarh Chemists’ Association, told Chandigarh Newsline.
Around 600 chemists in the city are registered with the Chandigarh Chemists’ Association.garh Chemists’ Association. Anand said that keeping more stocks in the store would put a burden on the chemists. “We are trying to clear all our stock before the new supply comes,” he said. “But there is an uncertainty among the chemists across the country ahead of July 1.”
The government has already exempted health care from GST. But a few slabs have been announced for pharmaceuticals. There will be 5 per cent GST for the life-saving drugs and 12 per cent for other drugs. The cost of insulin, which is used by diabetic type 1 patients, is expected to come down.
Yash Paul Singla, owner of Paul Medical Hall in Sector 11, told Chandigarh Newsline that they were selling some costly medicines on orders.
“Nothing is clear as to what is going to happen. Rules regarding GST are frequently changing which has created confusion. The medicine procurement [from the company] at my shop has reduced to 50 per cent. In between all this, we are trying our best that patients don’t suffer,” he said. “Currently we are selling costly drugs on special orders only. If we keep stock of medicines available at our stores, no one knows what is going to happen after July 1.”
City-based pharmaceutical companies said that the orders from the chemists had gone down. “From 10 days the demand has drastically gone down because the chemists are apprehensive about the situation. There are only emergency purchases and they [chemists] are ordering quantity as per their requirement,” said Rohtash Sharma, managing director, Healthkind lab, a city-based pharmaceutical company. “There are slim chances of medicine shortage in the city in the coming days.”
Doctors said that the chemists clearing the old stock had raised concerns that the chemists could sell old medicines which were about to expire. “The chemists are clearing their old stocks ahead of the GST. Before purchasing the medicines, one should check the expiry date carefully,” said a PGI doctor.