Pharmacies continue strike for indefinite period

Owners say they won't open their stores until their demands are met

Our Correspondent April 28, 2018

LAHORE: Pharmacies continued their strike for an undefined period in Lahore on Friday against the Punjab government for not revising the Punjab Drug Amendment Bill 2017.

All Pakistan Drugs and Chemists Association President Ishaq Meo told The Express Tribune that 99% of medical stores have been closed in the province since Thursday.

"We are on a shutter down strike across the province, including Lahore, Multan, Hafizabad, Kamalia, Toba Tek Singh, Rajan Pur, Jhaniyan and Sohawa. We will not open our medical stores until our demands are met."

Under the Punjab Drug Amendment Bill 2017, a pharmacist's presence in the medical store has been declared mandatory, whereas a punishment would be awarded over untidiness in the stores.

According to a survey conducted in various areas, most of the medical stores remained functional as they were not part of the All Pakistan Drugs and Chemists Association that is on a strike in the province.

Medical stores, pharmacies on strike

However, in some areas, where the medical stores were closed, patients faced problems due to unavailability of medicines.

Muhammad Adnan, a resident of Kot Lakhpat while talking to The Express Tribune said that despite visiting different areas he failed to find medicines for his son. "Now I am going to Old Lahore area, where some people told me, the medical stores are remained open."

In the Cavalry Ground area, owner of Bismillah medical store named Abdullah said that actually Punjab Drug Amendment Bill 2017 will close the door for corruption. "One can easily observe that medical stores are located at almost every corner of the city and don't have medicines without pharmacists."

He added the modus operndi of this malpractice is that the owner of the medical store gets a license in the name of a pharmacist, but starts functioning without him," he pointed out.

However, Punjab Drug Amendment Bill 2017 demands a pharmacist should remain present in the medical store at all times. "In my opinion, they should follow the Punjab Drug Amendment Bill 2017 because it is good for their businesses.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2018.


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