The Madras High Court on Wednesday stayed the online sale of medicines until November 11, as part of an ongoing tussle between online medical retailers and traditional pharmacists.
The Court stayed the online sale of medicines after it observed that several online retailers of medicines do not adhere to appropriate regulations for the sale of medicines. This includes the sale of drugs classified as Schedule H, H1, and X (which are only to be sold with a prescription) without following necessary measures.
The order, issued by Justice R Mahadevan of the Madras High Court, stated that medicines cannot be sold online until November 11, by which time there will be a final decision after consulting with the appropriate personnel.
“It is good that the court has taken this decision. When it comes to buying medicines online, the problem is that we don’t know what regulations are in place. Where are the medicines coming from? Where and how are they being stored? When a person comes to us in person, if we don’t have the exact medication he or she requires, we have the knowledge to give them equally appropriate medicine. How will this happen in an online platform? It becomes difficult to monitor quality,” said KK Selvan, the general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association and petitioner in the case.
He added that allowing people to buy medications online will lead to an increase in the abuse of certain drugs.
How it all began
In October, KK Selvan filed a writ petition with the Madras High Court, which stated that the online purchase should not be allowed as it posed a risk to consumers.
“Purchasing medicines from unlicensed online stores can be risky because they may sell fake, expired, contaminated, not of quality, unapproved drugs or otherwise unsafe products that are dangerous to patients and may put their health at risk,” the petition stated. Further, the petition said that medications sold online may not be regulated, and customers who bought medications online could be subject to health risks.
Following this, a nationwide protest was held by pharmacists on September 28. Over 35,000 pharmacists from Tamil Nadu alone took part in the same.