CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday restrained pharmacies in the State from selling medicines online, until further orders. Justice R Mahadevan granted the injunction while passing interim orders on a writ petition from Tamil Nadu Chemists & Druggists Association, Chennai.
The association said though online shopping may be convenient to consumers, purchasing medicines from unlicensed online stores can be risky as they may sell fake, expired, contaminated, unapproved drugs or otherwise unsafe products that are dangerous to patients, which might put their health at risk.
Moreover, laws for pharmacies in India are derived from the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 and Pharmacy Act, 1948. These laws were written prior to arrival of computers and India does not have any concrete law for online sale of medicines.
Though various amendments have been made to the law, so far no provision has been made to utilise information technology for selling medicines online, the association said.“Medicines are not simple items of commerce, they are an essential component of patient’s health and must be administrated to patients in a timely manner and such drugs are provided under the direct supervision of qualified pharmacist for the benefit of patients,” the petitioner said.
Petitioner prayed the court to direct the authorities concerned to block the links of all such websites that are carrying on online sale of Schedule H & Schedule X medicines in violation of statutory provisions.