Madras HC Sets Aside Ban On Online Sale Of Medicines

Chennai: In a relief for online pharmacies, including Tata 1mg, Practo, PharmEasy and NetMeds, the Madras High Court has reportedly set aside an earlier order by a single judge bench asking them to stop engaging in digital trade of medicines.

This is being seen as a booster shot for online pharmacies and will likely set a precedent in other ongoing cases, ET reported, citing industry executives close to the matter.

The weary queue of halts on online trade of e-pharmacies have existed since its interim ban in 2018, when the Madras High Court announced a ban on the online sale of medicines, which was then followed with the Delhi High Court issue of an all-India ban on the online sale of medicines.

Based on reports, the initial order by Justice R Mahadevan in the Madras High Court came after a plea by Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association in 2018 asking authorities to block websites selling online drugs.

“The order is clear that the status quo continues. We already follow existing guidelines of having licensed entities through which we sell online drugs in each state. Now, let the government come up with its policy and if there are any major changes, those would be there,” a senior industry executive was quoted by ET as saying.

With a majority of online businesses booming since the pandemic, one such industry that has outshined fairly is the medtech sector.

Despite the interim bans circulating in the country, healthtech companies have been able to raise funds on the grounds of the sector’s growth, where PharmEasy raised INR 1,804 Cr ($216.2 Mn), Innovaccer was in talks to raise a funding in the range of $200 Mn-$250 Mn, while Medibuddy raised $8.4 Mn (about INR 70 Cr) debt funding from existing debt investors.

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