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The nationwide AIOCD (All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists) set for March 28 has been postponed until after the General Elections. But it still continued in some states like UP and Bihar.

The main demand is to empower retail shop owners with more than two years of experience to dispense drugs. This is in view of the acute shortage of qualified pharmacists vis-a-vis the number of retail chemists. For e.g in Uttar Pradesh, there are only 22,000 chemists for 68,000 retail druggists, as per the organising secretary of the UP association.

The Kerala State Pharmacy Council (KSPC) has opposed this demand terming it a violation of Section 42 of the Pharmacy Act which says that only a qualified chemist can ‘store, handle and dispsense’ drugs.

Other concerns of the AIOCD are about the implementation of Schedule H1 and the online registration of narcotics drugs. They claim that the existing healthcare infrastructure cannot support the implementation of these measures.

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