Health Ministry comes out with draft rules on sale of drugs by e-pharmacy

The Union Health Ministry has come out with draft rules on sale of drugs by e-pharmacies with an aim to regulate online sale of medicines across India and provide patients access to genuine drugs from authentic online portals.

The draft notification says the application of registration of e-pharmacy will have to be accompanied by a sum of Rs 50,000 while asserting that an e-pharmacy registration holder will have to comply with provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000).

With this, Rs 3000 crore online pharma business will be regularised from the day of final notification.

These rules have been proposed to ensure accessibility and availability of drugs to the people across India.

After the rules are finalized, people will be able to get genuine drugs through these online pharmacies.

Highlights of the Draft:

All the e-pharmacies have to be registered compulsorily with the Central Drugs Standard control organization.

Psychotropic substances, habit-forming medicines like cough syrup and sleeping pills, schedule x drugs will not be sold online.

Apart from registration, the e pharmacies have to obtain a license from the State government to sell the medicines online.

The application of registration of e-pharmacy will have to be accompanied by a sum of Rs 50,000 while asserting that an e-pharmacy registration holder will have to comply with provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000).

The details of the patient shall be kept confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person other than the central government or the state government concerned, as the case may be.

The supply of any drug shall be made against a cash or credit memo generated through the e-pharmacy portal and such memos shall be maintained by the e-pharmacy registration holder as the record.

Both state and central drug authorities will be monitoring the data of sales and transactions of e pharmacies. Any violation of rules the registration of e-pharmacies will be suspended, and it can be canceled too.

The premises from which e-pharmacy is operated regular inspections will be conducted every two years by the central licensing authority.

Patients can order medicines by uploading the prescription, and they will be delivered at home by the e pharmacies. As there are no distribution costs involved and the e pharmacies procured directly from the manufacturers, the price may come down by 20 to 30% than Maximum Retail Price.

All the transaction will be done electronically which will encourage digital payments, and these bills can be tracked online for any misuse.

Each E pharmacy shall appoint pharmacists with customer care which will create the additional jobs in addition to the existing offline pharmacists that are already giving jobs to the pharmacists.

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