Should Online Pharmacies be regulated by DCGI?

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The Indian Internet Pharmacy Association (IIPA) has urged the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) constituted sub -committee formed under the chairmanship of Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr Harshdeep Kamble on online pharmacy to help set up a registry of online pharmacies to ensure clarity on the legitimate players and frame interim guidelines.

In most countries, the legitimate players are given specific operating licenses that are shared with consumers to fight the menace of cross border internet pharmacies. IIPA recommends a similar model for India, and also a crackdown on all illegitimate players, online and offline.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra FDA Commissioner has also maintained that online pharmacies can sell only OTC drugs and not prescription drugs until the guidelines are framed.

IIPA is a group of online pharmacies represented by, Bookmeds, mChemist, Medidart, Medlife, Medstar, Netmeds, Pharmeasy,, SaveOnMedicals and Savemymeds.

IIPA has pinpointed that there are multiple online pharmacies operating from different parts of the world that need to be monitored. This according to them will enable legitimate players to develop their business in this space and bring in the much needed innovation and technology driven transparency in this sector, leveraging best practices from across the world.

According to IIPA, online pharmacy is currently governed by Information Technology Act, 2000 and Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

The Drug Controller General of India had earlier directed all the state/UT drugs controllers to keep a strict watch on online sale of drugs and take action if there is  violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules there under.

Recommendations from all stakeholders are currently being reviewed by the Sub-Committee constituted by the 48th Drug Consultative Committee under the chairmanship of Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration Commissioner to formulate guidelines on the use of information technology in online pharmacy and authorise its legal validity.

Source: 1, 2

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