Decision on banning online sale of medicines rests at the doorsteps of Madras HC
Source :NewsBharati Date :03-Jan-2019
Chennai, January 3: Expressing the concern over patients getting affected if ban on sale of medicines online was prohibited suddenly, the Madras High Court decided to rest the verdict citing the further orders. However, a division bench of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice P Rajamanickam granted this interval, allowing miscellaneous petitions filed by a batch of traders involved in online sale of medicines. The final hearing over the appeals is scheduled on 24th of this month.
It is on 17th of December last year when the court had banned the online sale of medicines till the Union Health Ministry and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation notified the proposed Drugs and Cosmetics Amendment Rules, 2018 in the gazette. “The order was passed on a petition by the Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association (TNCDA).”, reported the statement.
"If all of a sudden, it is stopped till the amendments are notified, it would definitely create grave hardship, inconvenience and health issues to the concerned patients or persons, who order medicines through online platform,", the Court said in it’s judgement.
Challenging it, petitioners including Netmeds Marketplace Ltd, filed appeals seeking a stay on the single judge's order. “The judge fails to see that our online business model involves licences under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, and periodic forms and inspections by drug inspectors and statutory authorities are regularly being carried out.”, quotes the petition filed by the appellants.
“Sale through online platform was a developing concept and has been picking up. Handling the medicines requires great care as it deals with human lives.”,added the Court to which the appellants managed to respond assuring, “No irregularity or illegality would take place while selling or dispensing medicines through online platform”
“The authorities constituted under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 were competent to initiate appropriate action in the event of any violation of the provisions. The court is of the considered view that the relevant portion of the impugned order of the single judge barring online sale of medicines till the draft rules were framed by the Centre required to be stayed till further orders”, added the bench further.
“Though online shopping might be convenient to consumers, purchasing medicines through the medium, it could be risky as fake, expired, and unapproved drugs or unsafe products dangerous to patients might be sold. medicines are not simple items of commerce but an essential component of patients' health, and drugs are to be provided under the direct supervision of a qualified pharmacist for patients' benefit.”, opined the TNCDA.