The Internet Pharmacy Association said that Over the last couple of months, online pharmacies have been "facing harassment, stiff resistance and unwarranted disruptions from the government machinery, particularly in Maharashtra and Karnataka, and a trade association that is averse to transparency in this space.
Stressing that the digital platform for disbursing medicines is fully compliant under law, online or e-pharmacies have asked the government to maintain a registry of licensed players, and issue guidelines so as to end "inspector raj". The health ministry appointed sub-committee headed by Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Harshadeep Kamble, is yet to come out with specific guidelines on online pharmacies, Prashant Tandon President, IPA added. The sub-committee, formed in July by Drugs Controller General of India to assess feasibility of online pharmacies, was expected to submit the report within three months (October) last year
The IPA members have requested the sub-committee created by the 48th Drug Consultative Committee to formulate guidelines on the use of technology and e-pharmacies as a model, and issue clarification on its legal validity. They have also suggested best practices from around the world to draw out a model of pharmacy e-retail in India, and are keen to work with the regulator to address issues that plague this sector, the IPA statement adds.
The DCGI had earlier directed all state drug controllers to keep a watch on online sale of drugs and take action against those engaged in it, if that found to be in violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules.