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CAIT draws Health Min's attention to online pharmacy business

IANS | February 15, 2023 04:37 PM

NEW DELHI: Traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Wednesday drew Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya's attention towards online pharmacy business activities impacting wholesale and retail chemists.

It claimed that online pharmacy business activities by several big foreign and indigenous corporations have adversely impacted crores of wholesale and retail chemists. This is because of open defiance of Drug and Cosmetics Act and rules and also their indulging in anti-consumer practices and risking the safety and health of the Indian consumers.

The manufacture, import, sale and distribution of drugs is regulated by the Drug and Cosmetics Act and Rules in India. The Act and Rules are stringent and make it mandatory not only for every importer, manufacturer, seller or distributor of drugs to possess a valid license but also make it mandatory that all drugs be dispensed by a registered pharmacist only. "However, e-pharmacy marketplaces are misusing the loopholes in the law and playing with the lives of innocent Indian consumers by selling drugs without prescription and dispensing drugs without a registered pharmacist, " said CAIT National President B.C.Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal in a joint statement.

They said that the Government should permit only those e-pharmacies that own the drugs which are purported to be sold on the e-pharmacy and rest of the e-pharmacies operating in the Country should be asked to down their shutters.

Also, no person must be allowed to establish a web portal to act as an intermediary between the e-pharmacy entity and consumer. For instance, if a spurious, adulterated or misbranded drug gets delivered to the consumer, a marketplace like Pharmeasy or Netmeds will always hide behind intermediary protection which is a rampant malpractice even in e-commerce. An entity that wholly owns inventory will be liable in all circumstances.

Bhartia and Khandelwal urged the government to ensure that all drugs are disbursed only from the registered retail pharmacy and only by a registered pharmacist after following the due verification process to ensure consumers get exactly what they order. Both the trade leaders said that the government should impose a minimum penalty of Rs 1, 00, 000 which may extend to Rs 10, 00, 000 so that violators like Pharmeasy, Netmeds, Amazon Pharmacy, Tata1Mg are suitably penalised.

The CAIT has decided to organise a national level conference of prominent chemists Associations of different States of the Country in 1st week of March.

Meanwhile, a delegation of CAIT will soon meet Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to apprise them about blatant violations of e-pharmacies in the country.

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