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AIOCD writes to Ratan Tata asking not to venture into e-pharmacy space

Previously, the association has written to the heads of Amazon, Flipkart and Reliance

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The All India Organisation of Chemists & Druggists (AIOCD) has written a letter to Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group, requesting him to not invest in the online pharmacy business.

The association came to know that the group is thinking of investing in 1MG.COM, which operates in online pharmacy. So, in its letter, the association states e-pharmacies are illegal in nature and can hamper the brand value, apart from getting it into legal troubles.

“The sale and dispensation of medicines in India are covered under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945. The above-said act regulates the import, manufacture and distribution of drugs whereas, the rules contain the classification of drugs and guidelines for storage, display, sale and prescription of each schedule. The mainstay of the rules under this Act is on prescription and procedure of dispensation. A prescription, in original, is required for every “prescription drug” being sold. The Rules also specify that the prescription for certain drugs needs to be endorsed while sale. Further, the dispensation has to take place from a licensed premise for which the license has been issued by the competent authority. Therefore, the sale of prescription drugs and medicines through online medium is illegal. The legal regime does not permit home delivery of medicines, though recently owing to the situation of COVID-19 pandemic and an emergency-like situation, the Government allowed temporary provision for the home delivery of medicines, but it was meant for only neighbourhood pharmacies. It may be noted that allowing dispensation of medicines by home delivery will require extensive modification to the Drug and Cosmetics Act, apart from the Rules and the same has been accepted by the Union of India in its affidavit before the High Court of Madras,” stated the letter.

Sharing similar concerns, the association has also written letters to the head of Amazon, Flipkart and the Reliance Group, but, it has not received any communication from the other parties.

Rajiv Singhal, General Secretary, AIOCD commented, “AIOCD is opposing e-pharmacies because they are all illegal. Our 8.50 lakh chemists have proved their services during the lockdown in India. Amazon, Reliance and Flipkart know very well that theses E- pharmacies are illegal and are doing business against the Delhi High Court Order, hence they have not replied to us till date. We will fight for our right and the bread and butter of 8.50 members, which totals to approx 2.50 crores family members as well as our staff.”

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