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Chemists' body writes to Centre urging ban of online pharmacies


The letter claimed that “ illegally operating e-pharmacies are still in operation after more than 4.5 years.” NEW DELHI: The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), a powerful body representing approximately 12.40 lakh chemists and distributors in India, has written to the cabinet secretary urging him to intervene and ban online pharmacies stating that they are violating norms and putting people’s lives at risk. Citing the Delhi High Court order of 2018, which issued an injunction to e-pharmacies from the online sale of medicines without a license and directed that such sales were prohibited until further order, the letter said that “they continue to operate despite court orders. The illegally operating e-pharmacies are still in operation after more than 4.5 years.” The AIOCD also said that though the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who also holds the Chemicals and Fertilizers ministry portfolio also, took the initiative and issued show cause notices to these illegal e-pharmacies by the DCGI, no action has been taken against them since the issuance of the notices. The letter, signed by President J S Shinde and Honorary General Secretary Rajiv Singhal, said that they also brought an affidavit filed by the joint drug controller in 2020, which stated that “there is currently no provision under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 19440 and Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 for online pharmacies.” “The issue of online sale of drugs was under the consideration of the government,” the letter said, adding that this submission by the CDSCO clearly indicates that there is no license for the online sale of drugs. Therefore, in accordance with the orders of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, online sales of medicines should be immediately ceased.” However, a recent status report on e-pharmacies submitted by the CDSCO on the orders of the Delhi High Court reveals that there are no provisions in the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 that restrict the shipping, mailing, or door delivery of prescribed medicines. “This submission contradicts the earlier affidavit filed in the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi and raises concerns about the well-being of our citizens.  We remain hopeful and have faith in our elected government and senior bureaucrats that they will uphold the laws of the land and protect public health,” they added. “We kindly request your intervention and urgent action to ensure the implementation of court orders and the cessation of illegal operations by e-pharmacies,” they urged the cabinet secretary and called for immediate and stringent action by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and State Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) against illegal online pharmacies. The government in February pulled up at least twenty companies, including Tata-1mg, Flipkart, Apollo, PharmEasy, Amazon and Reliance Netmeds, by issuing them a show cause notice, for selling medicines online. The action was taken after AIOCD threatened to launch a country-wide agitation if the government didn’t act. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

128 Days ago