Centre considers banning e-pharmacies across India; concern over data misuse

India is mulling to shut e-pharmacies over misuse of data, according to a report

India is mulling to shut e-pharmacies over misuse of data, according to a report
India is mulling to shut e-pharmacies over misuse of data, according to a report

E-pharmacies on government radar over data privacy, malpractices

In a big jolt to e-pharmacies, the Centre is mulling regulations and stringent action against online drug stores, including banning them completely, following concerns over data privacy, malpractices in the sector, and irrational sale of drugs.

According to a source, the Union Health Ministry is working on a policy to regulate the e-pharmacy industry market in the country, and a Group of Ministers (GoM) are in favour of the closure of e-pharmacies. “They did not propose the idea in the present shape. The government can take action against them,” the source said.

“Union Health Ministry has taken note of malpractices reported in the sector which lead to concerns over data privacy, sales of medicines without prescription, and predatory pricing,” the source added.

The action follows after the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) last month issued a show-cause notice on online pharmacies asking them why action should not be taken against them for selling and distributing drugs without a license.

The notice was issued to online pharmacies including Tata 1mg, Amazon, and Flipkart, for selling and distributing drugs in contravention of provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, of 1940.

“This office has received various representations from time to time raising concerns regarding the sale of drugs through online, internet or other electronic platforms including various mobile applications, in contravention to the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 & Rules there under. Such sale includes drugs specified in Schedule H, HI, and X which are only allowed to be sold by retail under a valid prescription of a registered medical practitioner and supplied under the supervision of a registered pharmacist,” the DCGI had said in the notice.

Regulating the functioning of such e-pharmacies, unrestrained and irrational use of prescription drugs, and maintaining the privacy of patient data are major focus areas. A source explained that these online pharmacies collect area-wise data related to the consumption of medicines which increases the risks involved with patient safety.

[With Inputs from IANS]

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