The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday ordered the registration of an FIR against e-commerce major Snapdeal.com’s CEO Kunal Bahl and other directors for selling prescription drugs online without licence.
“We have filed a case against Kunal Bahl and the other directors of Snapdeal. We are looking at the evidence submitted by the FDA, following which we will call the directors and medicine dealers too,” said Bajirao Bhosale, senior inspector at Panvel station, where the complaint was lodged.
The FDA is watching 17 other websites — including some run by multinational e-commerce companies — for selling drugs. The law does not allow the online sale of any kind of medicines, including the over-the-counter variety.
Snapdeal acts as an intermediary between the seller and buyer of the products listed on the platform: Snapdeal Spox— ANI (@ANI_news) May 1, 2015
We educate sellers on consequences of selling inappropriate products, at times sellers end up listing such products: Snapdeal Spox— ANI (@ANI_news) May 1, 2015
The FDA ordered the FIR after Snapdeal continued to sell the drugs — such as Viagra, which contains sildenafil citrate and can only be sold on a doctor’s prescription — despite a raid on its premises and a notice from the consumer protection agency on April 16, its officials said.
“They informed us these products would be delisted from the website within four to five hours,” said the agency’s commissioner Dr Harshdeep Kamble.
But the FDA found the drugs were still available online on April 22, when one of its officials ordered contraceptive pills (unwanted-72 and I-pill) that were delivered to his residence two days later.
In its defence, Snapdeal said it worked as an online market connecting buyers and sellers, and that despite efforts to educate sellers about fair and safe sales, some ended up listing such products.
“Upon being notified of any such products, we delist them and take appropriate action against the seller. In this matter, we are assisting the FDA in its investigation. We have already delisted the products and said sellers and stopped payment, in addition to providing all information to the FDA team as required by them,” it said in a statement.