Having travelled 200 kilometers from a village in Ferozpur district, father of two-year-old Arav hoped that the doctors at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER) would successfully conduct the cataract operation of his son. On Tuesday, when everything was ready and the doctors asked the family members to get medicines from the chemist for the surgery, they failed to procure them owing to the one-day strike called by the chemists across the country.
“I thought that this time doctors will successfully conduct the operation. I had come earlier to PGI twice, but the operation couldn’t happen due to huge rush of patients. Today, everything was ready but I failed to get some medicine,” said the father, Sonu, who went looking for the medicine at city’s Sector 11, which is considered the hub of chemists shops in the city. “I don’t know when we will get the next day for surgery,” he lamented. Like Sonu, thousands of people faced harassment and inconvenience on Tuesday as they failed to purchase medicines due to closure of as many as 600 chemists shops in the city.
Chandigarh Chemists’ Association last week had assured full-fledged support to the nationwide strike of the All-India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists Association which was observed today. On Tuesday, only chemists shops located inside the hospital premises were open. With the closure of chemists shops across the city, it was the patients and family members who had to bear the brunt due to the strike. Many patients blamed the government for not taking any measure to help the public.
“I had come today morning to show my wife to the orthopedic doctor at PGI. Doctor advised to get some medicines and we went to several places in the city, but failed to get any medicine. The medicine was were even not available at the chemist shop inside the PGI campus,” said Tilak Raj, a resident of Una in Himachal Pradesh. “Now we will have to stay in Chandigarh till the shops open as we don’t get the medicines prescribed by PGI from any chemist shops in our village,” he added.
According to the members of the chemists association, major issues, which the association is opposing include online sale of medicines, e-portal and D Pharma. “Government could have prevented the strike today had there been some positive response from them. We were forced to go on a strike across the country,” said Vijay Anand, president of Chandigarh Chemists’ Association. “The online service, which the government wishes to provide to patients and consumers, shall not only result in storage problems, but may also affect the quality of drugs being supplied,” he said, adding that if the e-portal is imposed upon them than they end up uploading bills and prescriptions all day rather than selling medicines.
The association on Tuesday said that if the union government don’t agree to their demands, then an indefinite strike would be launched soon. The one-day strike ends on Tuesday night.