Drug Store, Pharmacy Strike Hits Patients in Patna

Medicine shops on Govind Mitra Road remain deserted on Friday due to day-long strike.

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Patna: With people of Patna still in the recovering phase from the three days of junior doctors' strike at the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), here comes another strike by the Bihar Chemist and Druggists' Association (BCDA) that kept all the pharmacies and drug stores shut on Friday as patients scurried around from one shop to another looking for medicines for the sick ones.

The strike in Bihar was the part of a nationwide bandh called by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) against the government's policy of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that favors opening of online pharmacies that would, it is feared, cut down on the bottom-line of the conventional brick and mortar establishments.

In Patna, all drug stores remained closed as did the pharmacies on Govind Mitra Road and Ashok Rajpath, city's two medicine hubs. People were seen peeking through glass doors and windows of the shops hoping someone inside would open the door and sell them the medicines they were looking for their loved ones.

Union leaders supporting strike of chemists and druggists in Patna on Friday.

At the PMCH where, surprisingly, medicines are not kept in large quantity and has to depend on retail drug shops just like any individual, doctors admitted of shortage of drugs leading to lapse in patient's care.

At least two deaths were reported to have been caused as a direct result of today's bandh though doctors denied the report.

Meanwhile, union leaders participating in today's strike declared the bandh a success.

"Online pharmacies will render more than 40 lakh employees without a job. We are fighting for their interest and will not allow the government to pass this law that favors only big corporation and not the little man who is just trying to make a living," said P K Singh, president of BCDA.

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