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Update: Flipkart and Amazon get notices from DCGI for allegedly selling adulterated cosmetics

Update at 4:45 pm: An IndiaMart spokesperson told MediaNama that it had not received any notice from the DCGI, nor were any raids been carried out on any premises of IndiaMart. The company also said that it is an intermediary, and does not carry out sale and purchase transactions. It only “facilitates display or at the most advertises” people who have listed themselves on the platform.

IndiaMart has not received any show cause notice on the issue. Also, IndiaMart is only an “intermediary” no transaction of sale and purchase or trade or commerce etc. takes place on IndiaMart platform. Our platform only facilitates display or at max advertises for the person who has listed himself being engaged in certain commercial activities. In case of any unethical activity on the platform, the company takes strict action and remove the listing of the products.
On due diligence IndiaMart added, “We follow a quality and strict due diligence process, the company takes in the record contact details of the seller along with aadhaar details and GST details before listing anything its platform.”
An IndiaMart spokesperson

Earlier today: Amazon, Flipkart and IndiaMart were served notices by apex drug regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for allegedly selling “spurious and adulterated” cosmetics, reports the Indian Express.

The platforms have 10 days to respond, failing which, there would be penal action “offering for sale, sale and distribution of spurious, adulterated cosmetics and cosmetics manufactured without valid license in contravention of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940”. If the companies fail to respond within 10 days, the DCGI can take appropriate action as it deems fit against them, it said in the notice.

MediaNama has reached out to all three companies, we will update this when we hear from them.

The notice follows DGCI’s raids across the country on October 5-6. Cosmetics worth Rs 4 crore across 8 cities were seized for containing products classified harmful for human health. During the raids, the regulator found that the following products were being sold on the above platforms:

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  • locally manufactured cosmetics without valid manufacturing license and
  • cosmetics containing imported ingredients without registration certificates

Per The Tribune report, illegally imported cosmetics on Amazon were among the “harmful products” seized by the DCGI.

The concerned cosmetics also include imported brands containing ingredients which feature on the “negative list” (things not allowed) of the Bureau of Indian Standards.

The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1945 governs the sale of drugs, medicines, and cosmetics in the country, among other things. It mandates:

  • Registration certificate for importing cosmetics
  • manufacturing license for locally produced cosmetics
  • conformity to BIS standards; no items on the “negative list” should be an ingredient

Snapdeal and Shopclues have faced this before

  • Back in 2015, the Maharashtra state government filed an FIR against Shopclues for selling emergency contraceptives and Viagra. The products were then pulled off of the Snapdeal website.
  • The same year, the Maharashtra FDA filed an FIR against Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl and the company’s directors for selling prescription drugs on the e-commerce marketplace. The regulator reasoned that only authorized entities such as doctors, or license chemists could sell products like Viagra and emergency contraceptives which were available on Snapdeal.
  • A little earlier that year, Snapdeal and a Chennai-based seller Ohmysecrets.com were taken to court for selling vibrators and abetting gay sex and exhibiting obscene products. It was alleged that the sale of products such as anal lubes and massagers that are shaped like the male phallus violate Section 377 of the IPC. Back then, Snapdeal and Ohmysecrets.com pulled down the products.

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I cover health, policy issues such as intermediary liability, data governance, internet shutdowns, and more. Hit me up for tips.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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