The Drugs Consultative Committee, the advisory arm of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), has constituted a seven member Sub-Committee to examine the issue of sale of drugs on the internet, to understand the risks and concerns of pharmaceutical e-sales. In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Health minister JP Nadda said that the Ministry of Health and Family has received representations from associations both for and against the sale of drugs online. "The representations received were discussed in detail in the 48th meeting of the Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC), held on 24th July, 2015," he added. The DCGI had in June appointed industry body FICCI as the nodal agency to consolidate and frame guidelines for online sales of medicines through e-commerce channels. Many pharmacy and chemist associations in India are against the sale of drugs through online stores. In June, the Indian Pharmacists Association (IPA) had written to the DCGI saying that online pharmacies are in contravention of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940. 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. Most pharmacy associations claim that livelihoods of pharmacists will be affected by allowing companies to sell drugs online and the All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) stated that e-pharmacy would hamper the interest of 800,000 chemists and 8 million workers and their families. In October, the AIOCD and other pharmacy associations had called for a nation-wide strike to protest against the government’s move to…
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