Published: 15th April 2020
What COVID did to my pharmacy: Why working in a medical shop is as tough as ever during the pandemic
In this series during the lockdown, we look at how the life and times of Yamsani Rajeshwar, who runs Sanjay Medical, has been impacted by the extended surge in business caused by COVID-19
When I walked up to Sanjay Medicals in Sindhi Colony, Secunderabad, I noticed social distancing boxes, a cardboard barricade that restricted entry into the shop and Yamsani Rajeshwar behind the counter in a mask. At the shop, which is usually teeming with customers pushing and shoving each other in a race to the counter, especially in the evenings, today, everyone was standing within a box, maintaining distance and waiting their turn. Such are the times we are living in due to the pandemic. Our lives have drastically changed and I wondered how Yamsani's life as a medical shop owner, whose shop is open every day, has changed amidst COVID-19. All I had to do was give him a call and he let us in on his struggles while continuing to focus on the positive side and following the motto 'Serve the Customer' religiously.
"The fact that people don't hurry me up and wait extremely patiently is definitely a good change," says the 43-year-old with a smile. But the first few days of the lockdown weren't as easy. His distributors faced problems delivering the medicines, like the one in Padmarao Nagar was roughed up by the police — one of his helpers from Shapur Nagar near Jeedimetla is still facing problems from the police. "But by the end of it, they let them all pass, so it is okay," he informs. He shares how all the sanitisers that they have of major brands like Dettol, Lifebuoy, Himalaya and 3M, including the medicated hand-rub Sterillium, ran out when the Janata Curfew was announced and now, there is not much demand because people are staying at home.
N Arjun Goud, Patil Shiva Prasad with Yamsani | (Pic: Yamsani Rajeshwar)
The regulars are extremely worried and are buying medicines for four months in advance, "This caused us to stay in our shops till 11 pm to pack the medicines for them and keep it ready for the next day," shares Yamsani who has been running the store for two decades. But now, the shutters are drawn shut by 7 pm and in this way, the lockdown has indirectly enabled him to spend more time with his family. He also never misses a chance to assure people that all medicines are in stock and they will have no shortage because 10 out of our 12 distributors are doing their job diligently. We wonder if people have asked him for hydroxychloroquine. He laughs as he says, "Oh, many have. But we only give it to those who have a proper prescription for it."
"Everyone is appreciating doctors, nurses, GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) workers and even the police, but no one has mentioned medical shop workers to date. I don't mean to say that their work is below us, of course, they work much harder than us," Yamsani is quick to clarify and adds, "But a word of appreciation for us would be nice," he says hesitatingly. Now, that's a point worth noting.
What you should know about Yamsani:
- Was born in Cheriyal and comes from a family of businessmen
- He pursued BCom from ABV Government Degree and PG College, Jangaon
- He trained at Balaji Medical in Chilkalguda for a year
- After searching for many areas in Secunderabad and Hyderabad, he opened a store in Sindhi Colony about twenty years back