The delay in notification of e-pharmacy draft rules is causing anxiety among stakeholders involved in digital health ecosystem, industry body FICCI said. There is no violation of any existing act and rules in current e-pharmacy model. However, there are certain difficulties that the sector has been facing towards ease of doing business due to regulatory uncertainty, FICCI said in a statement. This is because of the pending draft e-pharmacy rules. The draft rules provide sector specific e-commerce regulations with aim to harmonise existing laws/guidelines, it added.
“The delay in the notification of e-pharmacy draft rules is causing confusion and anxiety for all the stakeholders involved in digital health ecosystem,” the statement said.
By leveraging the technology in a smart way and under appropriate regulatory control, the e-pharmacy sector has scope of adding immense value to the existing pharmacy retail industry, and also the overall healthcare sector, it added.
Stating that e-pharmacies comply with the laws of the land, Ficci e-Pharmacy Working Group Chairperson Prashant Tandon said, “All the orders for prescription-based medicines are processed only against a copy of valid prescription and are dispensed by a licensed pharmacy having a registered pharmacist.”
Currently, there are over 50 start-ups operating in e-pharmacy space in the country, providing quality and affordable medicines to about 50 lakh patients per month across the country, the statement said.
About 30,000 skilled professionals are employed by the sector. The e-pharmacy sector has attracted over Rs 4,000 crore in FDI from some of the top global investors, and another Rs 2,000 crore is expected in the next two to three years, it added.