Amid Flipkart’s announcement to enter into the digital medicine vertical, traders’ body CAIT has asked the government not to allow marketplaces and online pharmacies to sell drugs in India. CAIT has written to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to prohibit online pharmacies from selling drugs in India so that the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules (DC Act and Rules) are fully complied with
The DC Act and Rules regulate the import, manufacture, sale and distribution of drugs in the country, and has strict provisions in view of public health and safety, said CAIT’s president B C Bhartia and secretary-general Praveen Khandelwal.
The move came immediately after Walmart-backed Flipkart launched its Health+ app on 6 April 2022, to enable users to access medicines, healthcare products and services across India.
Moreover, CAIT said that no person is permitted to import, manufacture, sell or distribute drugs without a valid licence or sell misbranded, adulterated or spurious drugs, or sell drugs without an original prescription.
Bhartia and Khandelwal also urged the government to ban epharmacies to prevent them from hiding behind intermediary provisions under Indian laws with an intention to avoid any liability, in case adulterated, spurious or counterfeit drugs reach the consumer.
The trade body called for a ban on marketplace intermediaries to put an end to deep discounting and predatory pricing, which hurts offline retailers.
CAIT has urged the government to impose a minimum penalty of INR 1 Lakh that may extend to INR 10 Lakh so that violators like Pharmeasy, Netmeds, Flipkart, Amazon Pharmacy, Tata1Mg, among others are penalised accordingly.