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Delhi HC bans online sale of medicines; are e-pharmas self regulating?

The Delhi High Court has ordered a ban on the online sale of medicines by e-pharmacies across the country, while directing the Delhi government to implement the order, reports The Economic Times. A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao passed the order in response to a PIL filed by Delhi-based dermatologist Zaheer Ahmed. Prashant Tandon, president of India Internet Pharmacy Association (IIPA), and also the founder and CEO of 1MG, told ET that if the Delhi HC order was similar to the Madras HC order (see below), large e-pharmacies are not likely to be impacted. This is because the Madras HC order only acted against those online entities operating without a retail license. In October, the Delhi HC issued notice to several authorities, including the Union Government, Delhi Government and the apex drugs control body, in response to a petition appealing for closure of online pharmacies. What does Zaheer Ahmed's petition say? The petition (filed via advocate Nakul Mohta) argues the following: Medicines are sold online without regulation, putting patients and doctors at risk. The online sale of medicines is not allowed under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Pharmacy Act 1948. The DCGI (Drugs Controller General of India) has directed state drug controllers to stop the sale of medicines online to protect public health. Failing to implement this directive, the government failed to protect public health under Article 21 of the Constitution. The petition points out that “unregulated sale of medicines online will increase…

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