Centre to launch national portal for online drug sale

With this, the government aims to mitigate risks such as the sale of counterfeit medicines, addictive narcotics, and potential national security concerns.
For representational purpose
For representational purpose

NEW DELHI:  In a bid to check the illegal sale of prescription drugs by e-pharmacies and e-commerce platforms, and to address the potential dangers such as data misuse, the Centre plans to launch a national portal for online sale of medicines, a top government official told this newspaper. 

The portal will be authentic, and safe and no sale will be processed without verification. Doctors will need to register on the site to give online prescriptions with which patients can buy medicines, the official added. 

With this, the government aims to mitigate risks such as the sale of counterfeit medicines, addictive narcotics, and potential national security concerns. During a meeting with major e-pharma players on Wednesday,

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya expressed concerns about the existing model of selling drugs online, highlighting the need for improved approaches. Major companies including Tata1mg, Netmeds, Amazon, Flipkart, Practo, Apollo, and PharmEasy were present at this meeting.

“The government is looking at a Zomato-Swiggy model for medicine delivery. This would involve delivery personnel collecting medicines from physical stores and delivering them to customers, enhancing the efficiency and security of the process,” said the official cited above.

In February this year, this newspaper had reported that the Health Ministry issued show cause notices to 31 companies for selling medicines online without requisite permissions.

According to sources, approximately 13 firms, including Amazon, CareOnGo, FrankRoss, Indian Chemist, MedLife, and Metromedi, among others, are yet to respond to the government's inquiries, raising further questions about their compliance with regulations.

Overall, the government's measures seek to safeguard public health, combat the sale of illicit drugs, and protect national security in the realm of online drug sales.

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