Brick-and-mortar chemists and druggists say the online platforms are but violating regulations and norms. Online consultations on mobile applications such as Practo saw a 500 per cent spike in most of the metro cities in the country, including Chennai.
On these lines, several online pharmacies registered more than 200 per cent growth during the lockdown and continue to show a significant spread to this day. However, it is being widely alleged that the generation of e-prescriptions and verification are not being done.
“As most of the customers prefer online delivery and consultation, such services saw huge profits. These e-pharmacies are not issuing invoices and verifying e-prescriptions. The prescriptions are being used multiple times though the course of medication changes after a period of time. We request strict regulation and monitoring of the drugs sold through e-pharmacies,” says S Ramachandran, secretary of Tamil Nadu Druggists and Chemists Association.
The State drug control authorities say e-pharmacies are unregistered with the State Health Department and their functioning remains illegal.
“Since a lot of people use online consultation platforms and e-pharmacies, we gave some relaxations during the lockdown. However, many complaints on the flouting of drug regulations have been registered and the functioning of online pharmacies remain illegal,” says Drugs Controller K Sivabalan.
The pharmacies should not only check the prescription but also verify it with the platform from where it is generated. The duplication of the prescriptions should also be prevented and if these pharmacies do not adhere to this, the authorities will take action against them under the Drugs and Cosmestics Act, he added.