Madras and Delhi High Courts recently banned the online sale of medicines, throwing e-pharmacies into uncertainty. So, what does the order mean for e-pharmacies and patients?
The order was in response to a PIL filed by a Delhi-based dermatologist Dr Zaheer Ahmed who said that unregulated sale of medicines online will lead to substandard drugs being sold, some of which have psychotrphic substances that can be misused for criminal activities.
The PIL also trained guns at the government, saying it failed in its responsibility to protect public health which is its Constitutional obligation under Article 21.
DG Shah, secretary general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, pointed to the importance of data protection for online pharmacies.
“Compiling data in offline stores is a cumbersome process but in an online model, that process becomes much easier,” Shah said in an interview with BloombergQuint. “However, ensuring the security of user data is of paramount importance.”
KK Selvan, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association, said that online pharmacies don’t pose any threat to offline stores.
“Currently, India does not have a law governing online pharmacies, either for uploading prescriptions or selling medicines,” he said.
“We have to welcome modernisation but we shouldn’t violate any laws.”KK Selven, General Secretary Of Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association
Dharmil Sheth, co-founder of PharmEasy, meanwhile, said that the pharma market is “big enough” for both online and offline players to sustain.
“We are less than a percent of the industry. I don’t think we are snatching away the business. It’s more fear of the unknown.”Dharmil Sheth, Co-Founder of PharmEasy
(This article was first published on BloombergQuint)