Government-affiliated pharmacies come to the rescue after demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on November 8, 2017, to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes took the country by storm.

Though there aren’t too many options for people to get their Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 notes converted to notes of smaller denominations, government-affiliated pharmacies have come to the rescue for many. However, just within a few hours into the day, several medical stores ran out of change and some others ran out of supplies due to the sudden increase in demand for certain medications.

A student from Seth G. S. Medical College, Mumbai said, “While it isn’t a very crucial problem for most students, some who are in desperate need of change aren’t quiet able to find a way around it. The pharmacy on the campus ground is accepting higher denomination bills only from people who have a prescription.”

MBBS student, Ashwini Patankar from Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Navi Mumbai,  said, “Most of the students who stay on campus headed to the closest ATM at night itself and withdrew sufficient money in 400s to encash only Rs 100 bills.”

On speaking to pharmacists near the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Mumbai, this correspondent found out that they’re looking at accepting Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 only from individuals who have prescriptions. The number of people flocking to these pharmacies has shot up to the extent where pharmacies are maintaining credit registers with identity details of customers. “In case a customer insists on making a purchase at the pharmacy with the sole intention of getting change for a Rs 500 or Rs 1000 note, we are making an entry in a register along with the amount owed to the customer. Once we get change from the bank, the balance amount will be returned to every customer individually,” said a pharmacist.