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CAIT urges government to ban recently launched Flipkart Health+ app and other online pharmacies

It accused such platforms of putting the health and safety of Indian consumers in jeopardy.

"We have requested the Government not only to ban marketplace e-pharmacies who have been playing with the lives of the Indian consumer but also to permit only those registered e-pharmacies," the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in a press statement. The traders' body has sent a letter dated April 11 to the Union Commerce Minister and Union Health Minister urging them to ban the recently launched Flipkart Health+ platform as well as other existing online pharmacies. Flipkart Health+, which launched last week, is a new app from the e-commerce giant, that sells medicines and healthcare products from independent sellers. The app looks to leverage Flipkart's recent acquisition of SastaSundar.com, but the online healthcare space is plagued with regulatory uncertainty, leading to CAIT's call for a ban of the app. The government in August 2018 published a draft policy to regulate e-pharmacies, but it is yet to be finalised. Responding to MediaNama’s Right to Information (RTI) request on the status of the draft amendments, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that "it may not be possible to say any timelines at this stage for finalisation of the draft rules."  The delay in these regulations is leading to increased calls for restrictions on apps operating in the online healthcare sector. CAIT, along with the Delhi-based South Chemists and Distributors Association (SCDA), had last year urged the government to reject the initial public offering (IPO) of PharmEasy on the grounds of illegality. SCDA had previously also opposed Tata's acquisition of 1MG and Reliance's acquisition of NetMeds. Why does…

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