Sale of medicines through unlicensed online platforms is prohibited until draft rules to regulate e-pharmacies are finalised and put in place.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has directed that online sales of drugs would be barred until draft regulations regarding e-pharmacies are formed and issued, a Mint report said.
This was circulated to states, union territories and the Health Ministry for information and action. The e-pharmacy rules are currently in the draft stage, the paper quoted a Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) source as saying.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
The order by DGCI VG Somani dated November 28 prohibits unlicensed platforms from selling medicines. It is likely to hit companies that invested heavily in the space without regulatory drag, the paper added.
The proposed rules mandate that e-pharmacies be registered with the government and maintain records of prescriptions to verify patients and doctors.
It has cited a Delhi High Court order from December 2018, which states that online sales of medicines should be prohibited as e-pharmacies do not hold licenses for the same and are thus in violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Act, the source added.
The e-tailers, however, continued to run shop after securing a stay order from the Madras HC. In defence, these companies claimed they were regulated by the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the pharmacy retail operations clause of the D&C Act.Online retailers have also dismissed compliance fears. Prashant Tandon, founder and CEO of 1mg told the paper that purchases on the platform require a doctor’s prescription to be uploaded, which is then passed to a physical, licensed store with a qualified pharmacist, thus operating as per the D&C Act.Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.