August 2016

Online Pharmacy Business Standing at Crossroads

Online-PharmacyOnline pharmacy business models await a new lease of life from progressive policymakers & regulators to deliver real benefits


Are we dissuading new business models from growing & spreading their roots in the Indian healthcare sector due to the entire balancing act of the government bodies and other structures? More than ever, we are now quite aware of new platforms & models that are putting all genuine efforts to play the role of a game-changer in the entire healthcare ecosystem. Of all the emergent models in the Indian market, online pharmacy has become the moot point of debate among all the key healthcare stakeholders. Instead of turning the entire debate into a shouting match, the need of the hour is to brainstorm by running different perspectives into one another to create a nexus of ideas and derive a dynamic conclusion, both relevant and contemporary. Usually brainstorms do cause disturbances in our immediate environment, but they enable to come up with lightening ideas.

Lately, we have been witnessing a series of progressive changes in the country, especially when it comes to regulations. There has been increasedemphasis on amending the umbrella Act Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, which provides a regulatory framework for ensuring quality, safety and efficacy of medical products. The charges leveled against the Act are that it is quite outdated and is in urgent need of amendments due to the inclusion of new medical areas and business models. In the light of the above, even online pharmacy business models have been witnessing numerous roadblocks.

Post numerous debates, the need of the hour is to define the document, quality to customers, balance between cost & patient safety and enforcement of the revised regulation in a stringent manner. The skeptics believe that online pharmacies pose a serious challenge to patient safety and medicine quality due to high risk of supply of spurious medicines and bulk purchase of medicines. However, online pharmacy entrepreneurs havecategorically denied such chances as their business models comply with rules and medicines are dispensed based on only prescriptions.


With consistent efforts of both online pharmacy entrepreneurs and the progressive leadership of India, there have been renewed efforts to comprehend the contemporary challenges and changes, as well as redefine the regulations. Entrepreneurs suggest that the Government has been in the process of drafting new regulations and should not take more than few months to ensure relevant changes are included, so that the contemporary challenges are addressed. People need to understand the business models based on which online pharmacies operate, which can play a larger role than what is being allowed now through its holistic business models and also prove beneficial to the needy patients.

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