Fearing that the government’s moves to regularise online sale of medicines would adversely impact their business, about 800,000 chemists and pharmacy outlets affiliated to the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) have called a countrywide bandh on November 23.
“The high court seems very serious on the impact of online sales of medicine on public health after considering proof of illegal sale activities by various websites. But the government is not taking a serious note and seem ignorant on issue related to public health,” a media report quoted JS Shinde, president, AIOCD, as saying.
He added that the Indian laws and governance system cannot compare with the developed nations, where e-pharmacies have been growing.
According to AIOCD, online sale of medicines would be illegal owing to the increased risk of unreported adverse drug reaction. Other issues that may arise include easy availability of low quality, misbranded and spurious medicines, risk of drug addiction among youth due to easy access to schedule and prescription medicine online, the group pointed out.
The AIOCD also alleged that online pharmacies are supplying anti-depressents, habit forming drugs, I-pill, MTP kits and codeine cough syrups without confirming the authenticity of prescription and patient.
However, online pharmacies rejected the group’s claim saying all the prescriptions are duly verified before medicines are sold online.
According to media reports, a high-level government panel is set to introduce a set of rules and regulations to allow sale of medicines through online pharmacies. The government is also expected to have provisions for penalties for those who violate the norms.