In a bid to regulate online sale of medicines and provide patients accessibility to genuine drugs from authentic online portals, the Union Health Ministry has released draft rules on sale of drugs by e-pharmacies.
It states that registration would be mandatory and no person will be able to distribute or sell, stock, exhibit or offer for sale of drugs through e-pharmacy portal unless he registers the same.
“Any person who intends to conduct business of e-pharmacy shall apply for the grant of registration to the Central Licensing Authority in Form 18AA through the online portal of the Central Government,” the draft notification said.
The notification says the application of registration of e-pharmacy will have to be accompanied by a sum of Rs 50,000.
It also states that e-pharmacy registration holder will have to comply with provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000).
“The details of patient shall be kept confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person other than the central government or the state government concerned, as the case may be.
“The supply of any drug shall be made against a cash or credit memo generated through the e-pharmacy portal and such memos shall be maintained by the e-pharmacy registration holder as record,” It said.
However, the Government has prohibited sale of tranquillisers, psychotropic drugs, narcotics and habit forming drugs through these portals.
“After the rules are finalised, people will be able to get genuine drugs through these online pharmacies. These pharmacies will be purchasing directly from the drug manufacturer so they will also be able to give 20-30 per cent discounts, thus benefiting the patients,” Eswara Reddy, Drugs Controller General of India was quoted as saying.
“Now those who want to operate e-pharmacies, only need to take one licence in any state. They can sell drugs all over the country even if they have one licence,” Reddy said.