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Chemists prepare for face-off with manufacturers

There is new war brewing! Neither in the devastated NewYork of America nor in the Afghanistan! It is right here in the commercial capital of India --- Mumbai. And who are the warring parties? They are the pharmaceutical industry of the country and the RDCA or the Retail & Dispensing Chemists Association. The latter is a member body of over 5,000 retail druggists & chemists spread across the country headed by Kishore R Shah.

// It is a classic case of friends turning foes and the reason for this is the transgression of the industry into the latter’s domain.The trouble started when several pharmaceutical companies and large business groups decided to get into retailing, by opening their own outlet or chain of outlets, which was seen by the RDCA members as a threat to their existence.

According to Mr. Shah, Cadila Healthcare, Cipla and Ranbaxy from among the pharmaceutical companies have either started or planning to start their own retail outlets. Mr. Shah claims that Subiksha Group from South India has already firmly entrenched itself in organized retailing, having established 80 outlets in 12 cities and targeting to open another 500. He further said that the famous Apollo Hospital has also ventured in the business through Apollo Pharmacy.

Mr. Shah has come up with the idea of uniting all the existing retailers to form a co-operative society and fight the onslaught of organised retailing. Mr. Shah is confident of scaling up the operations of the society in the city which has more than 5,500 chemists. According to him, in the long run, individual chemists will not survive and these retail outlets will join the society.

Mr. Shah triumphantly declares " We are not against anybody. Now we will do the business the way we want and they will do the way they want."

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