The Health Ministry of India is all set with a draft for regulations of online sale of medicines, under which e-pharmacies will need to be registered with a central authority and would not be allowed to sell narcotics, tranquilizers and psychotropic drugs.
India is a step closer to implementing laws that ensure patients purchase genuine medicines from online pharmacies. Following stakeholder discussions in March, the draft has been reworked, according to senior government officials close to the development. “This (e-pharmacy) regulation is to authenticate whether the supplier and product are genuine,” says one official, requesting anonymity.
The Ministry of Health is planning to bring amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945, to bring the regulations for e-pharmacies, and the draft rules have been shared with states and comments of state drug regulators sought, a ministry official said.
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Online pharmacies have to register with the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and they will not be allowed to supply drugs under the narcotics, psychotropic and tranquiliser categories, according to the draft rules.
Though there are already a few online retailers who deal in medicines, but there is no specific regulations for such activities.
E-pharmacy registration holders will also have to establish and maintain a portal for the management of business, it said.
The portal will have details of logistic service providers, a written policy of supplied drugs and their contact details, as per the draft rules.
There should also be a mechanism in place to enable customers to lodge their grievances, it said.
“The aim is to monitor the sale of drugs through e-pharmacy and also the genuineness of the supply of medicines,” the official said.
E-pharmacy registration holders would have to provide 24X7 customer support. The registration certificate is valid for a period of three years from the date of its issue, according to the draft rules.
The new set of regulations will also make medicines more accessible and available at peoples’ doorstep. SLB ANB ANB