Coronavirus curfew in Chandigarh: Medicine deliveries off to a slow start, but chemists warn of depleting stocks

Even as doorstep delivery of medicines started in the city on Thursday, several residents complained that the phone numbers of their local chemists remained inaccessible, even as chemists complained of depleting stocks owing to the large number of orders received on Thursday.

Vinay Jain, general secretary of the Chandigarh Chemists Association, said while curfew passes had been issued to chemists, along with a couple of helpers, the wholesalers were devoid of them. “Without passes, wholesalers are unable to supply medicines to us. Currently, chemists have adequate stock. However, the process needs to be expedited before the stocks start running low. We have met the UT administration officials about this.”

Narinder Gupta, a pharmacist, who owns Gupta Medicos at the High Court Complex in Sector 1, said due to the curfew, the movement of trucks and vehicles was banned, cutting off supply of medicines. “The prices of essentials, including sanitisers and masks, haven’t been hiked. However, if the stocks start depleting, there may be a problem with the prices,” he said.

Several chemists reported that they were using their own fuel to supply medicines to residents, as the administration wasn’t coming forward to help them. “It’s more like a social service to people. We don’t have any minimum order limit or charge extra for home delivery. In fact, chemists are charging less than the maximum retail price as times are tough for people,” Jain said.

SENIOR CITIZENS AT THE RECEIVING END

Many residents complained that they couldn’t get the medicines they wanted or the service wasn’t satisfactory in their sectors. Pharmacies were open on Thursday with their shutters half down after over-the-counter sales were stopped in view of long lines on Wednesday.

President of Sector 8-C Residents Welfare Association (RWA) Ranvinder Singh Gill said phone numbers of several chemists in the sector remained switched off, leaving senior citizens in the lurch. “The authorities need to issue curfew passes to RWA presidents and general secretaries, so they can help the elderly in such situations.”

He added that he had tried contacting helpline 112, but that also remained a futile exercise.

President of the Second Innings Association, RK Garg, said many elderly had reached out to him complaining about unavailability of medicines. “The attendants of many senior citizens aren’t able to reach them due to the curfew. Those living alone are facing difficulty in getting their medicines and administering them,” he said.

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