For the past 75 days, drug stockists-- in the light of a potential loss due to GST kicking in from July 1-- have been maintaining minimum inventory and even sending back part of their stock to drug companies. Meanwhile, the situation is triggering concerns among patients.
Although experts say there is no need to panic, there will a paucity of certain medicines for a short period of time. Further, social media campaigns have raised a flag and urged people to stock up medicines in advance.
The stock in retail stores in Bengaluru has gone down by 50% in the past two and a half month. The stores which used to keep a 40-day stock have cut down the period to 20.
"Dear customer, due to GST transition, please expect drug shortage in July and plan your purchases in advance to avoid inconvenience," read an SMS sent by Family Pharma, a chain of chemist stores operating in Bengaluru, read a report.
Staple food becomes expensive
Come July 1, branded rice will get expensive by 5% per kilogram. Karnataka is likely to be the worst hit due to the additional tax imposed on grains by the state government on traders and millers.
Apart from the 5% due to GST on branded grains, another 1.5 % market tax is levied by the government which Agriculture Marketing Produce Committee (APMC) will continue even after GST rollout.
Traders have pointed out that the price of Sona masoori, which currently costs between Rs 28 and Rs 60 per kg will see a spike in its price by Rs 2 to 4 by July. Apart from Sona Masoori being sold under different brand names, there are 20 other varieties in Karnataka including Bullet rice and BT rice.
A report quoted Secretary of Karnataka State Rice Millers' Association (KSRMA) N Sreenivas Rao saying the Centre's concept of 'One nation, one tax' makes no sense. He said the government's decision to impose a tax on rice was motivated by the fact that 83% of the rice consumed in North India was non-branded.
The majority of people who consume rice in South value quality. Most of the food grains are likely to attract double taxation and they have been requesting the authorities to do away with taxes on rice, he added.