Centre Likely to Shut E-pharmacies Over Data Misuse: Sources

The government is considering closing down E-pharmacies due to concerns over the misuse of data. According to sources cited by Times Now, a Group of Ministers (GoM) has also advised against the use of digital pharmacies. This development follows the recent issuance of show-cause notices by India’s drug regulator, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), to around 20 E-pharmacies, including companies such as Tata 1mg, Amazon, Flipkart, NetMeds, MediBuddy, Practo, Frankross, and Apollo. The notices stated that the sale, stock, exhibition, or distribution of drugs via online, internet, or other electronic platforms “without a license” could have an adverse impact on drug quality and pose a risk to public health.

In the meantime, Dr. Sanjeev Bagai, a renowned Indian paediatrician and nephrologist with expertise in pediatric nephrology, spoke to Times Now and expressed concerns about the unregulated operations of e-pharmacies. He suggested that they could make a comeback in a few years, but only if their operations were consolidated and discrepancies related to data and prescriptions were addressed.

E-Pharmacies on Govt Radar:

-Centre keen to shut E-pharmacies. Ministry of Health officials claimed that some of the online pharmacies and platforms were found to be selling drugs that are not allowed for retail sale without proper prescriptions from registered practitioners.
-The proposed New Drugs, Medical Devices and Cosmetics Bill, 2022, brought e-pharmacies under its ambit and mandates online pharmacies to have a licence to continue operating as usual.
-If the bill gets assent, online pharmacies would also not be permitted to sell medical devices without a licence.
-Earlier, the All India Organisation Of Chemists and Druggists had sought action against online pharmacies and threatened to hold a nationwide strike against them.

What are your views on government stance?

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