The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said its stay on sale of drugs and prescription medicines by online pharmacies will continue till rules are framed to regulate such entities.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao said that “once the rules come into play, you (online pharmacies) can start selling it (medicines). Problem is that today there are no rules regulating it.”
The pharmacies urged the court to remove the prohibition on online sale of drugs, saying they held licences and no medicines were sold illegally. They also contended that even prescription drugs were sold only if there was a valid prescription from a doctor.
The applications for impleadment were filed in a PIL by Zaheer Ahmed seeking a ban on “illegal” sale of drugs and medicines online.
Delhi HC stays ban on online medicine sale; to continue till rules are framed to regulate e-pharmacies
On the other hand, the pharmacies urged the court to remove the prohibition stating they held licences and no medicines were sold illegallyhttps://t.co/DrmxX6KVCC
— Business Standard (@bsindia) December 19, 2018
“It is a matter of public knowledge that e-commerce websites have been caught on numerous occasions of selling fake products. Unlike consumer items, drugs are extremely potent substances and consuming wrong dose or fake medicine can have fatal consequences on the patient,” said the court.
The petition said that as of now there is no mechanism to control the sale of medicines on the Internet and this puts health and lives of people at a high risk and affects their right to a safe and healthy life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
“Online pharmacies are operating without a drug licence and cannot be regulated in the present regime. Unregulated and unlicensed sale of medicines will increase risk of spurious, misbranded and substandard drugs being sold,” the plea has said.
During the hearing, the petitioner informed the bench that the Madras High Court on Monday had banned online sale of medicines till the Union Health Ministry and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) notified the proposed Drugs and Cosmetics Amendment Rules, 2018 in the gazette at the earliest by January 31.
The Madras High Court, however, kept the operation of its order in abeyance till December 20, to enable the online pharmacies to challenge the decision.
On being informed of the development, the Delhi High Court listed the matter for hearing on December 20.