India Bans Online Sale Of Medicines, Notice Issued To Every State: Big Setback To Digital India?

India Bans Online Sale Of Medicines, Notice Issued To Every State: Big Setback To Digital India?
India Bans Online Sale Of Medicines, Notice Issued To Every State: Big Setback To Digital India?

It seems like online marketplace is creating a haphazard for their subsequent offline markets, largely. Issues have not only been raised by offline retailers against online retail joints like Amazon and Flipkart but the similar concerns and trends have been raised by hotel and restaurant chains against online food aggregators like Zomato and Swiggy.

Concerning the above two sectors, we have covered detailed and minute character trends, behaviour and problems created very closely. All of these sectors have a problem with their online competitors in much related domains, like steep discounting and predatory behaviour.

Today, we bring to you a similar attribution, except this time it will be with the pharmaceutics and drug sector.

CDSCO Prohibits Online Medicine Sales & e-Pharmacies

India’s drugs regulator is yet to finalize regulations for online drug sales, or e-pharmacies. This has led the regulator to ask all the states to enforce a court directive that prohibits online medicine sales, until stated otherwise.

Last year in December, the Delhi High Court said that the government must ensure prohibition of online sales of medicines for the time being, after it heard a doctor’s alleging unregulated online sales, which could lead to abuse of medicines.

Consequently, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) asked all the states to comply with the court’s order last year, a reminder to which has been issued to all the authorities recently.

The CDSCO’s directive was sent on Nov. 28 to all the states, saying that the state drug controllers are the regulating authority and they’ll have to implement this and shall anyone dealing in online sales be caught, strict action is to be taken.

The Downside for Online Businesses

Naturally, if the High Court gives an order of this nature, it will directly bring down the sales for online pharmacies. It has raised concerns in the industry and any bans by state drug controllers could hurt online sellers.

The trader groups have protested against e-pharmacies for a long time, believing that they challenge their businesses and could allow medicines to be abused by being sold without proper verification. 

They also allege that such online portals for medicines, make it easier to use one prescription to buy medicines multiple times.

They have also blamed the online pharmacies of implementing steep online discounts, which have hit offline businesses. The industry has recorded estimates of the same, which comes out to $18.4 billion in retail sales in 2018-19. Sales growth has averaged only 8.2% a year in 2015-2016, while the sales grew by 12.3%.

Some online pharmacies aren’t worried, it seems. The online e-pharmacy like Netmeds is pretty chill with the whole idea, as it is confident of complying with all Indian laws and regulations and business.

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