GoI halts online drug sales
The Government of India has halted online sales of drugs as it is working on framing rules to regulate the sector. This has hit the pharmacy sector greatly.
Delhi High Court’s Order
The order of sale prohibition was initiated by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) V.G.Somani. The order has referred to the Delhi High Court judgement pronounced in response to the case filed by Dermatologist Dr Zaheer Ahmed. Delhi High Court order says that the sales of medicines online are in violation of Drugs and Cosmetics act. Therefore, GoI is framing strict guidelines for E-pharmacies.
The E-Pharmacy rules are still at draft stage. The draft includes registration of e-pharmacies, protection of privacy of customers, measures to counterfeit unauthorized sales, drugs and expired products. It also includes periodic inspection as referred by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, verification of registered pharmacists, details of patients and drugs on E-pharmacy portal.
E-Pharmacies claim that their business comply to Information Technology Act, 2000.
Current Market Scenario of E-pharmacy in India
In the present day, retail stores contribute to 99% of medicines sales with E-pharmacy contributing to only 1% of total medicine sales. In February 2019, the DPIIT (Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) published Draft National E-commerce policy. It includes E-pharmacy guidelines as well. As the industry has a billion-dollar potential, it is important to frame strict guidelines.