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The Maharashtra state government has filed an FIR against Delhi-based ecommerce website Shopclues for selling drugs online without a prescription from doctors, reports the Times of India. The website was pulled up for selling medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) pills and Seldinafil Citrate (Viagra) tablets.

The report further stated that Civil Supplies minister Girish Bapat, in a written reply to the legislature, had said that a person from Nashik had ordered the aphrodisiac from Shopclues without a medical prescription.

It seems Shopclues has taken down the Sildenafil citrate tablets from its website and it doesn’t show up on its searches anymore.

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The report further stated that the state government has sought the Centre’s help to regulate and define online sale of drugs. Note, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is currently formulating a framework for the sale of drugs through online pharmacies. The DCGI has appointed industry body FICCI to as the nodal agency to consolidate and frame guidelines for online sales of medicines through e-commerce channels.

Crackdown in India 

It’s worth remembering that in May, the Maharashtra’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) filed an FIR against Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl and the company’s directors for selling prescription drugs on the e-commerce site. Snapdeal was also reportedly selling sildenafil citrate tablets (Viagra), that only urologists, psychiatrists, endocrinologists and dermatologists could prescribe. In addition, the marketplace was also selling OTC emergency contraceptives. Currently, the company has removed all listings of products even remotely related to health & medicines. See here, here, here and here.

In the same month, the Gujarat FDA also raided Prowisor Pharma, a Surat-based online pharmacy that was reportedly selling drugs worth Rs 7 lakh online.

Pharmacy associations against online sale of drugs

In June, the  Indian Pharmacist Association (IPA) wrote to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) opposing online pharmacies in India. The IPA’s chief concern is that online pharmacies are in contravention of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act which states that drugs should be dispensed by registered pharmacists. As per Section 42 of Pharmacy Act “Only Pharmacist can dispense medicine on the prescription of a doctor.” And whoever contravenes these provision is punishable with imprisonment.

Image source: Flickr user ep_jhu