Mumbai: All manufacturers, distributors and retailers, interested in selling drugs and medicines online will have to register themselves on an e-portal to be set up soon by the Centre, the Bombay High Court was told on Thursday.
This information about the Centre’e proposed measure to regulate the online sale of drugs was given by the Maharashtra government to a bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar.
The state government gave the information during hearing by the court a plea of city resident M Patil, highlighting the malady of easy, online availability of medicines with students buying drugs on strength of fake medical prescriptions.
The high court had earlier taken serious note of the malady and had asked the government as to what steps it proposed to take to tackle it.
Additional government pleader P P Kakade told the court that a public notice had been issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in March this year on the need to plug the gaps in sale of drugs, including their online sale.
“The objective of such regulation would be to ensure availability of right drugs that meet the standards of quality to every person, in need of medicines, curbing anti-microbial resistance and also regulating supply of medicines online or on internet to persons or other entities outside India,” the notice said.
“The government proposes to establish a robust e-enabled structure for regulating the sale of medicines. An electronic platform will be developed and maintained by an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” the notice said.
It added that all manufacturers will be required to register themselves with the portal and enter data relating to the sale of drugs on e-platform to different distributors.
“All wholesalers and distributors will also be required to register themselves on the said portal and enter details of stocks received and supplied by them to further distributors or retailers,” the notice said.
“No retailer, chemist and e-pharmacist outlet shall be permitted to sell any medicine or drug unless such pharmacy is registered on the said portal. The pharmacy outlets will be required to enter details of all medicines/drugs received, sold, returned to the manufacturer or disposed of in any other manner,” the notice said.
The petition had raised concerns over the easy availability of drugs and medicines even without a doctor’s prescription as stipulated by the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
The Centre in its notice has said medicines included in the Schedule H, H1 and X of the said Act shall be dispensed or sold only on a medical practitioner’s prescription.
“The details of medicines sold or dispensed will be entered in the e-platform and bills will be generated through the system. The details will include the prescribing doctor’s registration number and the name and registration number of the chemist and the quantity supplied,” the notice said.
The court perused the notice and posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.