E-pharmacies have once again said that they are platforms like Ola and Uber, and do not need a license to operate. Just as Ola and Uber do not own cabs or have to be licensed under the Motor Vehicles Act, e-pharmacies don’t manufacture, stock, or sell medicines, but only provide a platform for their delivery. A division bench of the Delhi High Court consisting of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar today heard two petitions against online sale of medicines – Dr Zaheer Ahmed’s (w.p.11711/2018) and another by South Chemists & Distributors Association (w.p.10611/2018), along with Dr Ahmed’s contempt petition (Cont.Cas[C] 355/2019). Senior advocate Amit Chadha represented 1mg Technologies, and Jayant Bhushan represented Dr Ahmed. The case now involves online pharmacies 1mg, LifCare, Pharmeasy, and concierge service Dunzo. Chadha said online pharmacies do not sell, stock, or manufacture drugs on the platform, but “we’re only a platform,” and so “we don’t need a license”. Justice Hari Shankar asked him, “Are you saying you’re like Amazon?” Chadha reiterated that e-pharmacies are like Ola, Uber, which don't "own a single cab", and don't have licenses under the Motor Vehicles Act. Similarly, Swiggy doesn’t have a license either. “We are only the ‘Ramu’,” Chadha said, a reference to errand boys. E-pharmacies had put up the same defence in the last hearing (for the contempt petition), and had said that they’re like Swiggy and do not need a license. The court had granted the Centre more time to file their reply…
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