Tough pill to swallow for e-pharmacies as govt’s draft bill proposes curbs on online sale of drugs

July 23, 2023by The Print

Online pharmacies in India face a tough challenge from the government, which plans to bring a bill that could ban or restrict their operations, despite their pleas in response to notices issued by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) earlier this year.

The latest version of the draft Drugs, Medical Devices and Cosmetics Bill, 2023, a copy of which is with ThePrint, has a provision that allows the government to regulate, restrict or ban online sale or distribution of any drug by notification. The Bill is likely to be presented to the Union Cabinet before being tabled in Parliament in the ongoing monsoon session.

This provision is a departure from the previous draft, which was released for public feedback last year and proposed permitting operations of e-pharmacies. “No person shall himself or by any other person, or his behalf sell, or stock or exhibit or offer for sale, or distribute, any drug by online mode except in such manner as may be prescribed,” it read.

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