On Thursday, the High Court of Bombay issued direction to the State Government to impose regulation on the online sale of drugs until a legislation is enacted in this subject. The Court also ordered the Committee formed for this reason under Harshdeep Kamble, Commissioner of Food and Drug Administration to stipulate essential measures to prevent unauthorized sale of drugs through e-pharmacies. The High Court had directed the State Government on Wednesday to state measures they have strategized to prevent the e-pharmacies without the prescription of a doctor. The reply of the State was that it was collecting the details of such websites to tackle the issue immediately.
The bench consisted of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice S B Shukre who were hearing a petition initiated by Mayuri Patel, Lecturer at S K Somaiya College, Mumbai who asked the Court to bring limitations on the sale of drugs to students who buy those drugs without proper prescription. The petitioner brought to the notice of the Court that there have been great increase in the sale of drugs for abortion through online mode and the main purchasers are college students. It was also submitted that State should take effective steps as per Section 22 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act that controls delivery of the medicines through courier service. This is an easy way to get the drugs at home for the students without notice of others.
Even though the medicines specified under Schedule H of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 mandates the prescription of a doctor and similar restriction is imposed under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the e-pharmacies are not following such rules. Such drugs consists of sleeping tablets, pregnancy prevention pills and abortion pills. The main contention of the petitioner was to ban online sale of drugs that needs prescription from doctor. The Court also insisted the Committee to scrutinize the sale of drugs online through e-pharmacies keeping in mind the incidents happening in the society. The committee shall also examine the chance of risk factor by sale of medicines through internet. The Committee is to suggest amendment to the rules as provided under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to make sure that the drugs are not sold online by illegal means.
Adv. Jewel Panicker