Nepal | July 10, 2020

India asks states to halt online drug sales

Reuters
Share Now:

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: India’s drugs regulator has asked all states to enforce a court directive prohibiting online medicine sales, a senior government official said on Wednesday, raising industry concerns it could disrupt some online businesses.

India is yet to finalise regulations for online drug sales, or e-pharmacies, but the growth of several online sellers such as Medlife, Netmeds, Temasek-backed PharmEasy and Sequoia Capital-backed 1mg has threatened traditional drug-store businesses.

The Delhi High Court in December last year said the government must ensure online sales are prohibited for the time being, as it heard a petition from a doctor who alleged unregulated online sales could lead to abuse of medicines.

K. Bangarurajan, a senior official at the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), said the federal agency had asked states earlier this year to comply with the court’s order, and a reminder had now been issued to all authorities.

“State drug controllers are the regulating authority, they have to implement this … and if anyone is dealing (in online sales) they need to take action,” Bangarurajan told Reuters.

The CDSCO’s directive was sent on Nov. 28 to all states, according to a copy seen by Reuters. It was not immediately clear what subsequent action states would take.

Sreenidhi Srinivasan, a senior associate at law firm Ikigai Law, said the Delhi court order had raised concerns in the industry and any bans by state drug controllers could hurt online sellers.

Trader groups have protested for years against e-pharmacies, saying they challenge their businesses and could allow medicines to be abused by being sold without proper verification. They also allege e-pharmacies make it easier to use one prescription to buy medicines multiple times.

Steep online discounts have also hit offline businesses, which according to industry estimates recorded $18.4 billion in retail sales in 2018-19. Sales growth has averaged only 8.2% a year since 2015-2016 when sales grew by 12.3%.

“Online retailers have been offering discounts more than our margins,” said Yash Aggarwal, legal head of South Chemists and Distributors Association in New Delhi.

Some are not worried, however. Pradeep Dadha, CEO and founder of online e-pharmacy Netmeds, said his firm was complying with all Indian laws and regulations and business was continuing as usual.

“All our partner pharmacies also have the required licences,” Dadha said.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Silva shines as Man City thrash Newcastle 5-0

MANCHESTER: David Silva scored one goal and made two more as Manchester City put on a passing masterclass to overwhelm Newcastle United with a 5-0 Premier League victory on Wednesday. Having announced that he will leave the club at the end of this season after a 10-year spell, the 34- Read More...

Salah double keeps Liverpool on track for points record

BRIGHTON: Mohamed Salah scored twice as champions Liverpool moved on to 92 points with a 3-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Wednesday. The victory kept Liverpool on target to secure a record Premier League points tally, with Juergen Klopp's side needing nine from Read More...

Adequate social security key to minimise impact of COVID-19, says PM Oli

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said protection of the most vulnerable, including migrant workers and those in informal sectors, and provision of adequate social security and health care was the key to minimise the impact of COVID-19. Addressing virtual ‘Global Summit on COVID Read More...

Suarez scores as Barca condemn Espanyol to relegation

Barca beat Espanyol 1-0 in city derby Suarez won the match with his 195th goal for the club Espanyol were relegated after 26 years in La Liga  BARCELONA: Barcelona kept up their pursuit of leaders Real Madrid in the La Liga title race by beating city rivals Espanyol 1-0 at home Read More...

Coronavirus pandemic affects Nepal’s sovereign credit rating process

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 The country’s sovereign rating assessment is likely to be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though the government had awarded Fitch Ratings, a United States-based international credit rating agency, to study and confirm Nepal’s sovereign credit rating in December l Read More...

Human rights awareness, Human rights education

‘Respect rights of vulnerable people’

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 International partners, civil society and humanitarian organisations have been working together to support the Government of Nepal’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, read a joint press statement issued by United Nations, various embassies and international agencies in Nepal to Read More...

SP-N notifies EC of Giri’s expulsion

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 Samajwadi Party-Nepal today wrote a letter to the Parliament Secretariat stating that it had expelled lawmaker Sarita Giri from the House of Representatives. Assistant Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Dasharath Dahamala said his office would inform Speaker Agni Pra Read More...

Man held for swindling job aspirants of hefty amount

Swindler allegedly offered ‘fake offer letters’ to victims  KATHMANDU, JULY 8 Police have arrested Bijay Pandey, 34, on charge of swindling lakhs of rupees from at least seven persons on the pretext of securing them employment at World Health Organisation’s Nepal office. Pandey, who ha Read More...