The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) yesterday alleged malpractices and violation of rules by e-pharmacy firms, and urged the government to take action against them. In a memorandum to Piyush Goyal, Commerce and Industry Minister, CAIT said it “has strongly raised the issue of malpractices being conducted in online pharmacy trade and alleged” that firms including “Pharmeasy, and 1Mg” are conducting business practices in contravention of provisions of The Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
CAIT also alleged that these firms are misusing the e-commerce landscape by operating on low prices with 30-40 per cent discount and free shipping.
“It’s a case of capital dumping in these e-pharmacies by foreign behemoths. Which can prove extremely detrimental to the sustenance and future of the lakhs of small chemists across the country,” it said in a statement.
An e-mailed query to Pharmeasy and 1Mg on these allegations remained unanswered till the time of filing of the story.
Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, CAIT, said that mushrooming of e-pharmacy is causing huge hardships to the retail chemists and distributors in the wake of anti-competitive practices like capital dumping and deep discounting leading to predatory pricing.
He added that e-pharmacies with their financial backing by large foreign players/funds have started disrupting brick-and-mortar retailers due to the unmatched and often unsustainable pricing.
It claimed that the legal regime, under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940, does not permit home delivery of prescription medicines for which a prescription “in original” is required.
Besides general e-commerce where rules and policies are being flouted at a high magnitude level, the e-pharmacy has become another trade which is being targeted by these heavily funded companies to capture and monopolise at the cost of uprooting of lakhs of chemists and medicine traders across the country, CAIT said.