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Indian e-Pharmacies under renewed scrutiny by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI)

The Indian government is likely to take strong action against the misuse of drugs by the e-pharmacies, including their closure, news agency ANI said, citing sources. The report said that the e-pharma companies’ model is problematic as it can be detrimental to patients’ health.

Recently, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) served notices to illegal e-pharmacies selling medicines on the internet.
The notices were issued by DCGI on 8 February to the pharma firms and other online platforms in which they were asked to respond within two days or face strict action without any further notice on the sale and distribution of the drugs in the country.
According to the official sources from the India’s Health Ministry, e-pharmacies are violating various sections of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940.

Besides, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) served notices to over 20 online pharmacies and online platforms, that includes some big players as well in the industry such as Tata1mg, Practo, Apollo, Amazon and Flipkart.
“The All Indian Origin Chemists and Distributors (AIOCD) was constantly alerting the Government that the Drug Acts, Pharmacy Act, and Other drugs related rules/orders, code of ethics, do not permit the sale of medicines on the internet and promotion of drug sales by advertising with discounts and schemes as it can be hazardous to the health of the public,” read a statement issued by the AIOCD. “In spite of all legitimate appeals, requests, meetings, and High Court orders of Delhi, corporate houses were operating illegally with financial power indulging in Predatory Pricing. Since the e-pharmacies started operating online sale of drugs crossing borders of states in the country, there has been a sudden rise has been a sudden rise in the availability of spurious drugs,” AIOCD further said.

It also said that online apps became easy to access narcotic drugs, pregnancy termination kits, antibiotics, and sedative drugs, and its interstate supply direct to patients, became very difficult to trace and track by state drug agencies.

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