Mumbai: Keeping strict surveillance on online pharmacies, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), Maharashtra Drugs Controller, and government regulators will meet this month-end in Hyderabad to formulate regulations for better governance.
On Friday, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had issued a show cause notice to e-pharmacies over purported violations of the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, asking to explain why action shouldn’t be taken against them for sale and distribution in contravention of the law.
Month-long agitation by All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists
Meanwhile, the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists is planning to launch a nationwide month-long agitation from February 15 over illegal practices by onlinepharmacies. Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also launched a special drive to inspect stocking sites and keep a tab on records of prescriptions at local units of online pharmacies.
A senior official from Maharashtra FDA said there are continuous checks on e-pharmacies, including joint drives with the Central FDA to inspect stocks, storage facilities, sales records and prescriptions.
The official said, “We had learnt that there are no proper prescriptions while supplying restricted schedule H and X drugs (which include narcotic and psychotropic drugs). Moreover, they were stamping prescriptions, which, as per the Act, only a qualified pharmacist can do.” He said in such a scenario, one prescription can easily be used multiple times, which is a matter of concern.
Abhay Pande, the president of All India Food and Drug Licence Holders’ Foundation, said there is a big nexus preventing action against online pharmacies, which are operating brazenly under the nose of the regulatory body.
He said, “There has been no action in the last seven years, even though several high courts have intervened in the matter. The DCGI has turned a blind eye and is now seeking answers; it should feel ashamed.”
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