After the recent action against Snapdeal for selling prescription drugs online, the future of online pharmacies has become a question mark. Former national advisor (drugs control) and former Karnataka drugs controller, Dr. BR Jagashetty said “Online sale of drugs can be permitted only with strict norms. Also, stringent guidance should be formulated in the amendment bill, 2015 of Drugs & Cosmetics Act & Rules. As computerization and technology is making services convenient, India being recognized worldwide for its IT potential, and availability of options for doctor’s appointment, accessing lab reports, payments, purchases is now transforming to online, the sale of drugs online can also co-exit but with strict rules.”

The scheme would be like US and EU who already have regulations for online pharmacies. In US, the online pharmacy should be certified by Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) and EU has issued a common logo for legally operating online pharmacies/retailers. “The rules for online pharmacies in India should be framed on priority by the CDSCO, which should have a yearly renewal method. With a growing geriatric population, who needs constant action of medication, online pharmacies are seen to be way forward in India. Presently, the government is keen on transforming the operations computerized to ensure efficiency and transparency, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare should consider the same.” Dr Jagashetty added.

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