Need to amend Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 to promote e-pharmacy in India
NEW DELHI, 1 August, 2016: INBA under the leadership of Mr. Tabrez Ahmad, Chair, Startup Committee supported FICCI report on E Pharmacy along with Frost & Sullivan. With the advent of e-pharmacy, there is a need to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 as it does not differentiate between offline and online pharmacies. E-Pharmacy is one of the technology advancements that is about to create a huge demand in the upcoming days. In today’s world, when most of the products and services are conveniently being delivered to the consumers’ doorstep, there is a huge demand for access models that help patients and consumers avail the convenience of medicine delivery without having to leave their homes. It is stated by Kaviraj Singh, Secretary General of Indian National Bar Association.
The Government is seized of the issue and is working towards amending the existing law to develop a framework where the consumers are benefited. This was stated by Mr. K. B. Aggarwal, Additional Secretary (Food and Drugs), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,while launching a report at a session on ‘E-pharmacy in India – Last Mile Access of Medicines’, organized by FICCI.
Mr. Aggarwal said that e-pharmacy would allow easy availability of drugs at all hours. However, there were concerns with respect to legitimacy of e-pharmacies, patients’ safety and privacy, misuse of e-pharmacy and adverse effect on retailers business. He said that there was a need to create e-pharmacy guidelines which allow proper tracking and
monitoring of sales of drugs, authenticity of online pharmacists and prescriptions, details of patients, thereby helping in reducing drug abuse and counterfeiting. He added that linking a person’s Aadhar number with e-pharmacy would ensure correctness of person seeking medicines.
Mr. Aggarwal said that for ensuring privacy and confidentiality of information, deliberations were taking place and soon the suggestions will be put up for further discussions among the stakeholders. He added that the DCGI was working towards developing its online platform and the system should be stable by the end of December 2016.
In his presentation Mr. Jayant Singh, Director, Frost & Sullivan, said that e-pharmacy was one of the technology advancements that is about to create a huge demand in the upcoming days. There was a huge demand for access models that help patients and consumers avail the convenience of medicine delivery without having to leave their homes. With the use of technology and access to inventory of multiple stores at a time, e-pharmacies can aggregate supplies, making otherwise-hard-to-find medicines available to consumers across the country.
Dr. Manisha Shridhar, Regional Adviser, World Health Organization, said that for sale of online drugs, in the EU legitimate online pharmacies will have to carry a logo and India could learn from their processes and create its own logo for e-pharmacy. She added that there was a need to work on Direct to Consumer (DTC) as with emergence of e-pharmacy many issues will emerge that would need to be deliberated upon. In his presentation on the consumer survey, Mr. Afaq Hussain, Director, BRIEF Market Research, said that 90 percent of the respondents were willing to buy medicines online as e-pharmacy brings with the convenience of ordering from mobile applications; all required medicines are available at one store/website; home delivery of medicines; better quality of medicines; better pricing and e-bill for tacking and reimbursement.
INBA seeking suggestions from the industry and legal fraternity for the changes to be brought by Government of India in its public policy and law to help the startup e-pharmacy. All the suggestions received will compile and submitted to government for further appropriate action.
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