With the rise of eCommerce in India many startups ventured in to online pharmacy business. Noted companies in this list are 1MG, NetMeds, Zigy, Merapharmacy, Medstar, Medimart Over the last few months there was an uproar from All India Organisation of Chemists & Druggists (AIOCD) about selling of medicines online, subsequently they went for a day’s strike in October 2015.
With the mounting pressure DCGI(drug control general of India) Appointed expert committee lead by Dr Harshadeep Kamble (Commissioner, food and drugs administration, Maharashtra) to the give the report on feasibility and safe practices followed in other countries.
While the report is still pending DCGI has asked all the drug control administrations of state governments and union territories to take action against the epharmacies selling medicines. The Ban will have impact only on business models where online pharmacies are shipping medicines centrally like eCommerce.Many other Marketplace models in this business are hyper local where the pharmacist gets to see a valid prescription before delivery of medicines and this operates in a radius of 1-2 Kms only. Legally as per pharmacy regulation “a registered pharmacist can dispense the medicine on receipt of prescription for patient” and going hyper local will avoid any regulatory complications.
It is being speculated that there is a heavy lobbying done by big companies to facilitate e prescription business in India by changing the drug control act.
Why AIOCD is worried?
AICOD is worried that pharmacies might lose business if online pharmacies can operate without help of registered pharmacies, As companies might get in to heavy discounting just like other eCommerce businesses. The big challenge for DCGI is to create policy in such a way that both the consumer, Pharmacy and drug companies gets benefited.