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DCGI forms sub-committee for online pharmacy, to come up with a set of norms soon

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has formed a sub-committee to assess the feasibility of online pharmacy. This ensued from deliberations at the recently concluded 48th Drugs Consultative Committee meeting.

The sub committee is chaired by Maharashtra Food & Drugs Administration Commissioner. The other members are Karnataka drugs controller Raghurama Bhandary, along with the drugs controllers from Delhi, Odhisha and joint drugs controller, CDSCO, Dr S Eswara Reddy.

In the wake of information technology advancements and related mobile based applications, DCGI Dr GN Singh, felt it was vital to move with the times and have an in-depth assessment of online pharmacy practices. With the massive development and growth of consumer goods and general commodities sold online, it was viewed that drug was an essential and important item. Such a segment in the e-commerce space was critical to the growing patient population who were looking for efficiency and convenience in access to medicines in a timely manner. Therefore, online pharmacy which was on the top of the agenda of discussions at the just concluded DCC had the creation of dedicated sub-committee, Karnataka drugs controller, Bhandary told Pharmabiz.

“We would now mutually interact and look into the feasibility of online pharmacy for medicines in the context of the current guidelines and regulations of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act & Rules,” he added.

The first meeting of the sub-committee for online pharmacy is likely to be in the second week of August after we receive the copy of the 48th DCC meet proceedings by August first week. However, it would be the Maharashtra FDA commissioner who would now take a call on this, he added.

“The sub-committee has been asked to view in detail the online pharmacy sale of medicines. Currently, there are many companies engaged in online pharmacies across the country which is a violation of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act. In view of this, we have been advised to look at devising a guideline for online pharmacy practice,” said Bhandary.

Further, the sub-committee would view the importance of online pharmacy for medicines like over-the- counter and schedule H drugs. Besides, also look into the various types of services, like for instance need to accept scanned copy of prescriptions and digital signatures among others.

Moving away from online pharmacy discussions, the DCC highlighted on the timeline fixed for two months to furnish reports of analysis from the drug test labs. The state regulatory chiefs and the laboratory heads expressed the difficulty in getting the reference standards. If reference standards were easily accessible, they viewed a time-frame of two months to be comfortable for test report disbursal. The state regulators called to include this time frame into the D&C Act.

There was a consensus for a rigid action to be taken against sale of psychotropic drugs, besides record Schedule H drugs sale could be linked to electronically generated cash receipts. The state drugs controllers also agreed on the need to devise a drug inspector training module which was uniform across India to ensure consistency in implementation of the D&C Act & Rules.


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