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Online sales of medicines boom in absence of regulations

businesspaper Updated: Jul 07, 2016, 06:00 IST

NEWDELHI: Despite the absence of concrete guidelines on sale of medicines over the internet, about 61% consumers are buying medicines online.

Moreover, visits to the physical stores have come down from 72% to 55%, especially for senior citizens, a survey by Bureau of Research on Industry& Economic Fundamentals has found.

“Subsequently, placing orders for medicines over the telephone also increases with increasing age, from 15% to 29%,” said the survey covering 4,600 respondents that was commissioned by Consumer Online Foundation, led by Bejon Kumar Misra.

Misra has sent a copy of the report to minister of health and family welfare, JPN add a for consideration while making guidelines for e-pharmacy.

Online pharmacists such as 1mg.com, Book med sand Netmeds, which account for a bulk of the online sales, have sought clarity on online pharmacy rules, which are currently being reviewed by a panel constituted by the drug controller general of India (DCGI), GN Singh.

“We can not say no to adoption of online technology. We will be using the suggestions from the report, as and when it would reach us, for formulating the policies. The only concern is to create laws and guidelines which do not compromise the safety of patients,” Singh told HT.

Online pharmacy is currently governed by IT Act, 2000 and Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

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