The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) under the Union Health Ministry is planning to make it mandatory for the buyers to provide details like Aadhaar number for online purchase of drugs. The move aims to curb misuse and ensure safety of drugs being sold through portals.
“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. The Government is seized of the issue and is working towards amending the existing law to develop a framework where the consumers are benefitted,” said KB Aggarwal, Additional Secretary (Food and Drugs), Health Ministry.
He added that linking a person’s Aadhaar number with e-pharmacy would ensure correctness of person seeking medicines.
Aggarwal was speaking at an event after launching a report at a session on ‘E-pharmacy in India — Last Mile Access of Medicines’, organised by FICCI recently.
A few months back, the Ministry had temporarily banned sale of drugs online in view of complaints of illegal activities through the system. However, with online portals coming handy for a section of users like elders and disabled, the DCGI had set up a panel to suggest ways to plug gaps in the online sale of drugs.
Aggarwal agreed 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 of sales of drugs, authenticity of online pharmacists and prescriptions, details of patients, thereby helping in reducing drug abuse and counterfeiting.
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