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Ban on online sale of medicines: E-pharmacies given 4 weeks’ time to respond

With the Delhi High Court order banning online sale of medicines by e-pharmacies, there is a question mark on the future of online pharmacies. As is known, the Delhi High Court passed the order based on a PIL filed by Dr Zaheer Ahmed, a Delhi-based dermatologist. 

Senior counsel Arvind Nigam, representing the petitioner Dr Ahmed, submitted that online sale of drugs is prohibited by law. He argued that there is no control and the sale is being done in violation of the statutory provisions, name, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. 

The High Court order stated that Nigam had also invited the attention to an interim order passed by the Madras High Court on October 31, 2018, wherein taking note of the seriousness of the issue and the public cause involved, interim injunction has been granted with regard to online sale of medicines without licence and the competent authority has been directed to stall such online sales forthwith. 

The Delhi HC, ordering the ban, ruled, “We see no reason as to why similar directions be not issued in the resent case.” The Court added, “Respondents are injuncted from online sale of medicines without licence and the respondents are directed to ensure that the same is prohibited forthwith until further orders.” 

The respondents have been given four weeks’ time to file a counter affidavit.

When Adgully reached out for a response to the Delhi High Court order, Pradeep Dadha, Founder and CEO, Netmeds.com, in an email statement said, “We have come to know about the Court ruling through the media and we are awaiting a copy of the order that has been passed by the Delhi High Court.” 

He further said, “Meanwhile, the ePharmacy draft regulation has been passed by DTAB (Drug Technical Advisory Board), which is the highest nodal authority before issuance of a new regulation. We are confident that post examination of the guidelines that are defined by the D&C Act, the legal and regulatory aspect of the functioning of e-pharmacies will be clear.” 

Dadha affirmed, “As a fully licensed pharmacy, Netmeds is committed to adhering to all the guidelines and rules defined by the D&C Act.”

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