E-commerce company Snapdeal has been asked by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to explain complaints that it was selling prescription drugs online. The company said that sellers who use the Snapdeal website had listed the drugs, which have now been de-listed.
Maharashtra FDA commissioner Dr Harshdeep Kamble said they have specific information about the actual receipt of Ascoril cough syrup and Viagra tablets, both prescription drugs, being sold online through the Snapdeal website.
According to the FDA, there were other drugs as well, the details of which have not been revealed by the FDA yet.
On Thursday, the company was served a notice, asking it to furnish details of the drugs offered for sale and distribution.
“This is the first time, perhaps in the country, that this kind of action has been initiated against online sale of drugs. Under the current provisions of the law, it remains unlawful,” said Dr Harshdeep Kamble, commissioner, FDA, Maharashtra.
The online retailer has also been asked to provide details of medical stores, companies and agencies involved in the purchase and sale of these medicines.
The e-commerce company, in an email response to Hindustan Times, said, “Snapdeal.com is an online marketplace which connects buyers and sellers to provide the widest assortment of products.”
“Though we periodically educate sellers on engaging in fair and safe sales on the platform and consequences of selling inappropriate products, at times sellers end up listing such products. In this case, upon receiving the notice, we have delisted the products and provided all information to the FDA team,” said the Snapdeal spokesperson.
“It is important that the sale of online drugs is ceased because in certain cases it can prove to be fatal,” said Dr Kamble. He added, “What if people can buy sleeping pills sitting at home, which must not be sold without a prescription strictly.”