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CAIT disappointed over govt inaction against e-pharmacies

Jamshedpur, May 14: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has expressed its disappointment on failure of Health Ministry for not taking any action on e-pharmacies flouting rules and regulations of Drug & Cosmetic Act, despite writing to ministry several times in the past.

CAIT has also urged Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to made public the recommendations of a GoM headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in this critical issue. Open defiance of Drug and Cosmetics Act and rules and also e-pharmacies indulging in anti-consumer practices and risking the safety and health of the Indian consumers and chemists have made chemist trade non-competitive, said CAIT.

Jamshedpur based CAIT National Secretary Suresh Sonthalia said that e-pharmacy marketplaces are misusing the loopholes in the law and playing with the lives of innocent Indian consumers by selling drugs without prescription and dispensing drugs without a registered pharmacist. E-pharmacy marketplaces like Pharm easy, Tata 1Mg, Netmeds and Amazon Pharmacy are at the forefront of these blatant violations.

CAIT National Vice President Brij Mohan Agarrwal said that government should permit only those e-pharmacies that own the drugs and no person must be allowed to establish a web portal to act as an intermediary between the e-pharmacy entity and consumer.

For instance, if a spurious, adulterated or misbranded drug gets delivered to the consumer, a marketplace like Pharmeasy or Netmeds will always hide behind intermediary protection which is a rampant malpractice even in e-commerce. However, advantage of section 79 of Information Technology Act must not be given to e-pharmacies. Besides protecting lakhs of small chemists and health safety of the citizens of the country, e-pharmacies should be asked to close their operations. The CAIT has sought an audience with Mandaviya

Suresh Sonthalia urged the government to ensure that all drugs are disbursed only from the registered retail pharmacy and only by a registered pharmacist after following the due verification process to ensure consumers get exactly what they order. Both the trade leaders said that government should impose a minimum penalty of INR 1,00,000 which may extend to INR 10,00,000 so that violators like Pharm easy, Netmeds, Amazon Pharmacy, Tata1Mg are suitably penalised.

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