The Indian government is considering shutting down "e-pharmacies" over their misuse of data, Times Now reported. While MediaNama was unable to independently confirm this, government sources speaking to News18 noted that e-pharmacies may collect medicine-related data that could eventually increase patient safety risks. The source added that concerns over predatory pricing by these platforms were also on the Ministry of Health's radar. Why it matters: E-pharmacies operate in a tricky regulatory environment, since there are no specific laws regulating the sector in India as yet. While both the draft "Drugs, Medical Devices and Cosmetics Bill, 2022" and the draft amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, allow online pharmacies to function with appropriate licenses, their current status is unknown. In the meanwhile, e-pharmacies find themselves in a regulatory limbo. For example, last month, India's drug regulator sent show-cause notices to around 20 e-pharmacies. The notice asserted that selling, stocking, exhibiting, or distributing drugs online without a license could potentially impact the quality of drugs and pose risks to public health. E-pharmacies served reportedly included Tata 1mg, Amazon, Flipkart Health+, NetMeds, Apollo, Zeelabs, PharmEasy, and Healthcare. Platforms not always responsible for drug sales: In the past, High Courts have quashed cases against online marketplaces selling specific drugs without a license. They've held that "intermediaries" or platforms can't be held liable for the drugs that third-party vendors sell on their platforms—this protection from legal liability is called "safe harbor". Upcoming Digital India Act may challenge the future of e-pharmacies: However, the government is also considering whether…
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