The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), which claims more than 8.5 lakh members across the country, has cautioned the e-commerce players Flipkart and Walmart about the legal implications if they make any partnership with online pharmacy 1mg.com to sell prescription medicines in the country.
“E-pharmacies are not legal and is against the law in our country and indulging with them will attract unnecessary legal implications,” the AIOCD said in a letter to Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon, regarding partnership with online pharmacy 1mg.com.
Flipkart which is owned by Walmart Inc, USA has recently partnered with the e-pharmacy by the name of 1mg.com to sell prescription medicines on its platform.
"It is our moral duty to advice you as being an outsider, you may not be aware of all laws which govern the space of prescription medicines in India. It is also possible that your company may have been ‘hoodwinked’ by 1mg.com thinking that its operations are legal which are totally illegal," stated AIOCD president J S Shinde.
Rajiv Singhal, general secretary, AIOCD, stated, “Most likely, 1mg would have convinced you that they are just an ‘aggregator’ and do not sell medicines and only provide a platform for ordering of prescription medicines. The term ‘aggregator’ which 1mg claims to be is not defined in the Drugs & Cosmetics Act & Rules thereof and in absence of any specific rules for ‘aggregators’, they have to comply with the current laws under the said act”.
AIOCD added that the current system to ordering medicines over the internet totally diminishes the rules and regulations related to prescription and dispensation of medicines.
The prescription for ‘Home Delivery’ of medicines has to be received in person, or has to be emailed on the official email ID of the retail pharmacy by the patient. This makes receiving the order on a mobile application illegal, the association added.
“At the start of pandemic COVID-19, a government website called ‘aarogyasetumitr.in’ was being used for illegal marketing of illegal e-pharmacies where 1mg was also a seller. The same website was suspended by the government realizing their mistake after one of our district associations filed a caseagainst it in the High Court of Delhi, stated AIOCD.
AIOCD added, “We hope that you will rethink your partnership with above pharmacy and will not allow them to sell prescription medicines against the laws from your platform