By: Parveen

Chennai : The Federation of Indian Pharmacists Organisations (FIPO)  including the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has demanded the union government to introduce online pharmacy with strict control on compliance of drug laws. In a letter written to the Prime Minister of India, FIPO has said that in an era of information technology similar to the established system of telemedicine, the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology, the emerging area of e-pharmacy has to be permitted and promoted for the common man’s easy accessibility for all kinds of medicines. The Federation has sent the letter to the PMO because of the oft-repeated threat of pharmacy strikes at national level and state level by different trade bodies, mainly by AIOCD and its branches, said Dr R S Thakur, president of the Federation. The association wanted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliberate on finding a permanent solution for easy sale and distribution of medicines with emphasize on the principles of rational use of medicines. In the letter, Dr Thakur says that the medicine distribution sector in the country should be made a fully professionally manned and managed one by ensuring free medication error and all-time availability of cheap and quality medicines to all. Supporting online trade, FIPO wants the government not to prevent people from ordering and getting prescription drugs in the prescribed quantity by online. But, the online sale should be handled by qualified and registered pharmacists and all the processes of the internet sale should be carried out by complying with the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945. FIPO’s observation is that online pharmacy will help for transparency in medicine trade. Since there is no cash deal in the online trade, there is little chance for black money generation and no income tax evasion. The Federation argues that opposing online sale is anti-people. If patients can get quality medicines for long term therapy for diseases like, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases at their door-step, it has to be welcomed and supported. It will reduce the cost of medicines also. The sponsors of strike are those who are involved in off the book transactions of medicines and do not give cash memo to the customers and deal exclusively in cash in order to evade income tax, says the letter.

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