The Delhi high court has reportedly announced a ban on sale of online medicines by e-pharmacists across the country and directed the Centre and the AAP government to immediately implement the order.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao passed the order. Delhi-based dermatologist Zaheer Ahmed complained that lakhs of medicines were being sold on the internet every day without much regulation, posing a huge risk to patients and doctors alike.
Ahmed also pointed out that online sale of medicines is not permitted and is not legal under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Pharmacy Act, 1948.
The petitioner highlighted that even though the Drug Controller General of India in 2015 clearly directed all state drug controllers to protect the interest of public health by restraining such sale online, lakhs of medicines continue to be sold online, often even without prescription.
“Unlike common items, drugs are highly potent and its misuse or abuse can have serious consequences on human health, not just for the person consuming it but for humanity at large as some drugs can be addictive, habit forming and harmful to the body. A large number of children/minor or people from uneducated rural background use internet and can be victims of wrong medication while ordering medicines online,” the PIL stated.
Unable to supervise, the government has failed in its responsibility to protect public health which is its constitutional obligation under Article 21, the PIL says.
The PIL mentions that Centre is well aware of the risks involved in sale of medicines on internet since a panel setup by it for this purpose cautioned as late as September this year about risks involved in the online sale of medicines, particularly, prescription, habit-forming and addictive medicines.