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India’s retail chemists ask BJP to include the banning of e-pharmacies in its manifesto

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New Delhi: The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), an industry body representing India’s retail chemists has asked the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) to include the banning of e-pharmacies, regulations of deep discounts and prohibition on discount advertising in their manifesto.

“This will save the livelihood of crores,” said the letter by the body to the BJP president JP Nadda.

AIOCD said that the online medicine business poses a serious threat to public health, serving as a gateway for counterfeit medications in the country.

“We’ve provided a detailed memorandum outlining these concerns. Allowing it to continue could lead to the monopolisation by big corporations and chains. In the interest of public health and to protect the younger generation from drug abuse, the Government of India should ban E-Pharmacies nationwide,” the letter said.

They also said that the government should put in efforts to curb deep discounting. “Safeguarding small businesses and local economies from monopolistic practices that harm competition and consumer choice.”

According to them, placing discount boards or advertising discounts in a price-controlled commodity like drugs and medicines, where doses or quantities are strictly regulated by prescription, goes against the ethical standards of the pharmacy profession.”We will aim to prohibit such practices to uphold professional ethics and standards. These practices not only threaten the livelihoods of our members but also jeopardize the welfare of millions of dependents relying on this vital sector,” the letter addressed to Nadda said.Other than this, the industry body also called for prohibiting predatory pricing policies employed by corporate entities, whether through online platforms or chain stores, to prevent monopolistic practices that undermine small retailers and exploit consumers.

“Fair competition, not cut-throat tactics, will be enforced to ensure a level playing field for all businesses,” the letter said.