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Karnataka DC dept swings into action to stall operations of online pharmacy players

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Tuesday, January 5, 2016, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Karnataka drugs control department has already made efforts to stall all online pharmacy operations in the state. In fact, the state which is among the first to curtail online operations is home to Zigy.com the erstwhile PM Health & Life Care (PMHLC) which conceptualised the Managed Market Place Health Exchange format to connect chemists and druggists with consumers. Now the department has swung into action to stall every online pharmacy in the state.

“We are on track to investigate and ensure that such online pharmacy operations will not take place. It is a challenging task but we are confident to keep this business model of drug sale not to function in our state,” Raghurama Bhandary, drugs controller, government of Karnataka told Pharmabiz.

Two weeks ago the Karnataka health and family welfare minister UT Khader stated that online sale of drugs would not be allowed until the Union government comes out with its clear cut guidelines. Now with the Drug Control General of India issuing a directive to all the state drugs control departments to ensure a stringent surveillance on e-pharmacy business and banned its operations. The state drugs control is now aggressive on its scrutiny.

The state government had expressed uneasiness on the possibility of drug abuse under the online pharmacy format. There was also a concern on purchasing such drugs with the same prescription leading to irrational drug use. The government viewed that online pharmacy business model to be detrimental to health of the Indian  population.

The Karnataka drugs control department which is keeping a close watch on its 26,000 pharmacy outlets in the state had seized online pharmacy players in operation and cancelled their retail licenses early last year.

Although the intention of online pharmacy players was to provide convenient services to the country’s ageing population suffering from chronic health issues. Their kith and kin were strapped for time to purchase drugs from pharmacy stores and opted for the online route. All these companies considered it as a humanitarian service to deliver the drugs to the patients door step. In the absence of a dedicated rule in the Drugs & Cosmetics Act & Rules, the drug regulators viewed it as a violation.

The online pharmacy business model violates the Drugs and Cosmetics Act & Rules 65 (9)(a), 65 (10) (a) and 65 (11) (c) which makes it clear that the Schedule H drugs cannot be sold with scanned copies of prescriptions. The Act mandates dispensing drugs with original copy of the prescription, said the Karnataka drugs controller.


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hemen parekh Jan 10, 2016 10:54 AM
How is it different ?

About a year back, 8 lakh druggists and chemists went on a strike to demand action from the Centre against " illegal " online sale of medicines by E Pharmacies such as 1mg / PharmEasy / Netmeds etc
On Dec 30 2015 , Drug Controller General of India ( DGCI ) issued a circular asking online pharmacies to strictly adhere to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules
But no ban on Online Pharmacies
Online pharmacies argued :
* We are only Search Engines which enable buyers to search for specific drugs / sellers of such drugs and place orders online
* We neither " store / stock " any drugs nor " sell " these stored drugs
* We pass on the buyer's order to selected Chemists , who actually fulfill the order and collect payment
* We insist on a Doctor's Prescription in case of Scheduled Drugs
* By providing a platform to lakhs of small chemist-shops , we are helping them to prosper
* We are providing a buyer , many more options to choose from lakhs of
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