The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has issued a directive banning the sale of medicine online and has asked all state governments and union territories to take action against the e-pharmacies, reports the Times of India. A copy of the order here (hat tip: Tarun Krishnakumar). The report added that the ban is temporary and the DCGI is awaiting recommendations from an expert committee headed by Dr Harshadeep Kamble, commissioner of the Maharashtra FDA. Earlier in December, the Drugs Consultative Committee, the advisory arm of the DCGI, had 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. The DCGI had also in June 2015 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…
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