In view of the concerns raised on the sale of drugs over internet, the Drugs Consultative Committee has constituted a sub-committee to examine the issue of sale of drugs on Internet.
The sub-committee, in its report, has made important recommendations to regulate e-pharmacy business. Some of the recommendations of the sub-committee like the creation of a National Portal to act as the nodal platform for transacting and monitoring online sale of drugs, exclusion of certain categories of drugs, viz, the Narcotic and Psychotropic drugs, tranquilizers, habit forming drugs and Schedule X drugs that are prone to being abused or misused from sale through e-pharmacies are expected to provide a fillip to the much felt need to regulate the e-pharamacy business in India.
It is interesting to note that the Drugs Controller General of India had directed all State Governments and Union Territories to take action against the unauthorised sale of medicines on the Internet in December 2015 pending the report of the sub-committee.
It had directed that there should be a strict vigil on the online sale of medicines, and action should be taken against those indulging in online sale of medicines in violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and rules.
The Government move came in the wake of a spate of representations received against e-pharmacy from individuals, organisations and trade bodies. The analysis of these representations had revealed serious concerns on issues impacting public health such as gross violation of the provisions, endangering human lives, dangers of online sale of controlled substances, and encouragement of drug addiction among youth.
Experts told Bureaucracy Today that now that the report of the Sub-Committee is out, the onus lies on the Government to weigh the pros and cons of e-pharamacy business. In doing so it must keep in mind above all the dangers of online sale of controlled substances, and encouragement of drug addiction among youth and how to tackle the menace.