The Delhi HC extended a ban on the sale of medicines by e-pharmacies till January 8 next year.
While e-pharmacies have become popular in cities as they offer doorstep delivery and discounts, in the absence of regulations, the model has attracted controversy. One such charge against e-pharmacies is that sale of medicines online is unregulated and hence unsafe. E-pharmacies deny the charges and say the central government will now have an oversight over the companies as registration is mandatory.
On December 20, the Delhi HC extended a ban on the sale of medicines by e-pharmacies till January 8 next year. A Division Bench of the Madras HC on the same day overturned a single-judge Bench order that had banned the online sale of drugs and cosmetics.
Pradeep Dadha, chief executive officer (CEO) of Netmeds said that -the Madras HC has ordered the central government to issue regulations on e-pharmacies by January 31. The Drug Controller General of India has indicated this could be done in two weeks. So we are positive. Any investor would look at the macro situation for e-pharmacies in India and that remains very good.” He added that there was no drop in sales for December.
Dadha said Netmeds, which directly or indirectly employs 1,000 people, would not cut jobs. Others said while there was some anxiety after the Delhi HC order, the Madras HC had provided relief.
Prashant Tandon, CEO and co-founder of 1mg state that- “there is some comfort after the Madras HC Division Bench order. There is no slowdown and we will continue with investments. Currently, we serve 1,050 cities. We plan to serve 2,000 cities by end-2019,”
He added that along with dispensing medicines, the firm also provided consultation and diagnostic services. “Now, we want to offer Ayurvedic and homoeopathy as well,” said Tandon.