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Demonetisation move negatively impacts pharma stockists and retailers

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Around 40-45 per cent of the retailers do not have bank accounts and they deal in cash

Sachin JagdaleMumbai

Government of India’s recent move on demonetisation has negatively impacted pharma stockists and retailers in the country. Both retailers and stockists are finding it difficult to give out change to patients buying medicines, with high denomination notes, which is leading to frequent arguments.

“Till now, demonetisation has had a little impact on business with pharma companies. However, it will be difficult in the long run, as medicines cannot be procured always on credit,” says Prasad Danave, General Secretary, Maharashtra State Chemists and Druggists Association (MSCDA), Mumbai Zone.

JS Shinde, President, All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), gives a broad perspective of the problem. He says, “Around 40-45 per cent of the retailers do not have bank accounts and they deal in cash only. Demonetisation has affected them badly. The situation is worst in rural areas where there is usually a lone chemist dispensing medicines. We had requested the government to allow stockists withdraw Rs 10,000 per day but our demand wasn’t met. If the situation goes on for a long time, I fear at least 30-40 per cent medicine shops in rural India will be forced to shut in days to come.”

Shinde adds, “As far as the pharma sector is concerned, not all drug manufacturers supply medicines on credit. On many occasions, we have to pay money in cash and buy medicines.”

According to Shinde, the deadline to accept old notes by stockists and retailers, is till November 24, 2016. However, problems may arise for stockists, retailers and patients, post the deadline.

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