The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in its submission on the draft rules on e-pharmacy to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said that e-pharmacy models provide tracking and traceability of medicines, abuse prevention, addressing consumption of drugs without prescription, tax loss and value-added services for consumer empowerment in healthcare, which are very important in national development. According to IAMAI, this model also increases entrepreneurship opportunities and in turn, accelerates innovation in healthcare. IAMAI, in its submission, has however pointed out that the definition of e-pharmacy is outdated as it doesn’t include e-commerce.
E-Commerce platforms under DIPP definitions and NIC rules are a legitimate form of business where wholesalers and retailers of any goods and services reach out to buyers. IAMAI has recommended that the definition should be holistic and support innovation and FDI in this important sector. It should include the word facilitate the sale to encompass the business models of the companies which don’t stock and sell the medicines but only facilitate the sale by the sellers (market places). It will be important to differentiate them from the e-pharmacy retailers or wholesalers. The word facilitate the sale will be consistent with existing FDI policy and will not be open for interpretations in future. The association has requested for clarification on whether small offline retailers on-boarding e-pharmacy marketplaces will also have to abide by the provisions of this Bill. – Business World