The Gujarat High Court issued a notice on a writ petition against the online sale of medicines and scheduled drugs. “The healthy well-being of citizens matters. So the concerned authorities of the Centre and State should file appropriate affidavits dealing with all the contentions submitted in the petition”, the single bench of Justice A.S Supehia said.
The Petitioner had submitted that the online sale of medicines and scheduled drugs has serious consequences on public health and is not permissible under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1990. It was submitted that the Drugs Controller General of India has banned the sale of medicines through e-pharmacies vide circular dated 30.12.2015. The circular instructed Drugs Controller in all the State and Union Territories to put a strict vigil on the online sale of medicines and take action against those selling medicines online in contravention to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1990 and the rules made under it.
Prima facie, the Court found the allegations made in the writ petition appear to be true and noted that if scheduled drugs are being sold without due compliance with the law, it will adversely impact public health. The Court issued a notice returnable on July 29.
“The e-pharmacies arrange a call between the customer and their employed medical professionals, and, based on a skeletal discussion, a prescription is generated without the doctors even seeing the diagnostic or other medical reports of the customers. Prescriptions based on such limited and formal conversations directly impact public health and have no legal sanctity”, the petitioner claimed.
The Petitioner also submitted that e-pharmacies do not have licences required under Section 18 of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940, read with Rule 61 and 62 of the Drugs Rules, 1945. The Petitioner argued that e-pharmacies sell certain scheduled drugs without any prescription and that these can be ordered by a child below 18 years of age. The sale of Schedule H, H1 and X drugs, under the Drugs Rules, 1945 / Indian Medical Act, 1956, can only be allowed on the prescription of the registered medical practitioner and e-pharmacies are selling these scheduled drugs openly and freely, without any compliance of provisions of law and regulations. The counsel for the Petitioner prayed that such sale is prohibited.
“The Drug Consultative Committee constituted a sub-committee regarding the online sale of medicines, which submitted a comprehensive report in 2016. The Report made various recommendations which have not been followed and implemented so far”, the writ petition said.