Chemists and Druggists Association Urges Government to Ban Online Pharmacies, Citing Violations and Public Safety Concerns

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The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has sent a letter to the cabinet secretary, calling for a ban on online pharmacies in India. Representing approximately 12.40 lakh chemists and distributors, the AIOCD argues that these e-pharmacies are violating norms and endangering people’s lives. The AIOCD points out a Delhi High Court order from 2018, which prohibited e-pharmacies from selling medicines online without a license until further notice. However, the organization claims that these illegal online pharmacies continue to operate in defiance of the court order. Despite show cause notices being issued by the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, no action has been taken against these illicit operations.

The AIOCD further highlights an affidavit filed by the joint drug controller in 2020, stating that there is currently no provision in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules for the online sale of drugs. The organization argues that this submission confirms the absence of a license for online medicine sales, emphasizing the need for immediate cessation in accordance with the Delhi High Court’s orders. However, a recent status report submitted by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) contradicts the earlier affidavit, revealing that there are no explicit provisions in the Drugs & Cosmetics Act and Rules restricting the shipping, mailing, or door delivery of prescribed medicines.

In light of these discrepancies, the AIOCD urges the cabinet secretary to intervene and ensure the implementation of court orders, calling for stringent action by the CDSCO and State Food and Drug Administrations against illegal online pharmacies. This appeal follows the government’s show-cause notices to 20 companies, including well-known names like Tata-1mg, Flipkart, and Amazon, for their online medicine sales. The AIOCD’s plea to ban online pharmacies raises concerns about public safety and seeks the government’s commitment to upholding the laws of the land while protecting citizens’ well-being.

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