Delhi HC Seeks Center’s Reply on Prohibition of Medicines Sale by Unlicensed e-Pharmacies

The Delhi High Court has today directed the Central Government to respond to an application seeking implementation of an order prohibiting the sale of medicines online through unlicensed e-pharmacies. The application also seeks a direction to the four e-pharmacies impleaded in the matter, namely 1mg, pharmeasy, dunzo, and lifcare, as well as other similarly placed e-pharmacies, to stop selling medicines on their portals. The application was part of the Petition preferred by Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, a dermatologist seeking to restrain the online sale of medicines by e-pharmacies, as the same is not permitted under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the Pharmacy Act, 1948.

The matter was listed before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar Rao, which had in December last year directed the Central government and the Delhi government to restrain the online sale of medicines during the pendency of the Petition. The application filed through Advocates Misha Rohatgi Mohta and Nakul Mohta claims that the Governments have “neither taken any action against e-pharmacies selling medicines online nor has showed any interest in prohibiting such sale of medicines as directed by the Hon’ble Court.” The Application has further submitted that the order “deliberately, intentionally and knowingly” not being complied with, which shows that the Government is not concerned about the health of the public.

“That in spite of the restraining order passed by this Hon’ble High Court the e-pharmacies are getting published huge advertisements in electronic and print media,” it is stated in the Application. The Petition claims that lakhs of medicines are being sold online through e-pharmacies, in spite of a direction of the Drug Controller General of India to the State Drug Controllers, to put a strict vigil on online sale of medicines in violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules there under, to protect the interest of public health, thus violating the citizens’ Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. The matter would be next heard on May 9. The interim order staying the sale of medicines online through unlicensed e-pharmacies would remain in force till then. – Medical Buyer Bureau

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