Justice R Mahadevan granted the interim stay on Wednesday on a plea moved by the Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association (TNCDA) after directing the Additional Solicitor General of India G Rajagopalan to obtain instructions from the Centre.
TNCDA, represented by its general secretary KK Selvan submitted that laws for Pharmacies in India are derived from Drugs and cosmetics Act, 1940, Drugs and cosmetics Rule, 1945 and Pharmacy Act, 1948. These laws were written prior to arrival of computers and India does not have any concrete law defining online sale of medicines.
Even the amendments brought out subsequently had not enabled any provision to utilise information technology or amended enabling online sale of medicines.
Noting that medicines are an essential component of patient’s health and hence must be administrated in a timely manner as prescribed by the registered medical practitioner, the plea submitted that at present, there are more than 3,500 sites which are dealing with online medicines and distributing drugs pertaining to both scheduled and non-scheduled category in the country.
Also, submitting that even as per Drugs and Cosmetics Rule, it is not permitted to ship, mail or deliver prescribed medicines and hence there exists no provision for selling of medicines online, the plea noted that besides this sale progressing without any licence, some websites sell medicines that may not be safe to use and could put patient’s health at risk and sometimes lead to death.
Further, pointing out that the online sale of drugs is in violation of rule 61 and 65 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945 and without amendments being carried on to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules permitting online sales by issuing licence and having periodical inspections as provided under the Act, the online sale should not be allowed, the plea said. next hearing is on November 9.