A ban on the online sale of medicines ordered by the Delhi High court and no medicine will be sold by e-pharmacists across India. Court also directed the Centre and the AAP government to implement the orders immediately.
The order has been passed by a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao. While acting on a PIL filed by Zaheer Ahmed, the Delhi-based dermatologist. He filed a complaint on the sale of lakhs of medicines that were being sold on the internet every day without much regulation, posing a huge risk to patients and doctors alike.
Ahmed also pointed out that the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Pharmacy Act, 1948 not allowing online sale of the medicines, through the plea filed through advocate Nakul Mohta. The main thing that was highlighted by the petitioner is that, in 2015, the Drug Controller General of India in 2015 clearly directed all state drug controllers to protect the interest of public health by restraining such sale online, lakhs of medicines continue to be sold online, often even without prescription.
PIL also points out that governments are failed to supervise, responsibility to protect public health which is mentioned under a constitutional obligation under Article 21. The PIL argues, seeking the court’s intervention on the serious problems and health hazards can be caused by the medicines as these are not the common items. Medicines are highly potent and its misuse can ruin human health, not just for the person consuming it but for humanity at large as some drugs can be addictive, habit-forming and harmful to the body. Many uneducated and rural background people accessing internet and can be victims of wrong medication while ordering medicines online.
Governments are not doing enough to handle the online sales and according to plea, online pharmacies are operating without any drug license. He also warns that “unregulated sale of medicines online will increase the risk of spurious, misbranded and substandard drugs being sold” adding that “Some drugs have psychotropic substances and can be easily ordered on the internet and misused for criminal activities or drug abuse.”
Petitioner clearly defined that the Centre government is well aware of the risks that are involved in the online medicines sale on the internet. A panel developed by the central government for this purpose cautioned as late September 2018 to handle risks involved in the online sale of drugs, particularly, prescription, habit-forming and addictive medicines.
Union Health Ministry also presented their draft rules on the sale of drugs by e-pharmacies with an aim to regulate the online sale of medicines across India. This will provide accessibility to genuine drugs from authentic online portals to patients. The topic for the drafted rule named “sale of drugs by e-pharmacy” states that no person will distribute or sell, stock, exhibit or offer for sale of drugs through the e-pharmacy portal unless registered.