Traders’ body CAIT on Thursday called on the government to ban online marketplaces from selling drugs in the country, a day after online retailer Flipkart announced its entry into the vertical medicine market.
In a statement on Thursday, the Confederation of All Indian Traders (CAIT) said it had written to Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal and Minister of Health Mansukh Mandaviya calling their urgent attention to ban online pharmacies from selling drugs in India. so that the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules (DC Act and Rules) are fully complied with.
CAIT National Chairman BC Bhartia and General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal said DC law and rules regulate the importation, manufacture, sale and distribution of drugs in the country and have strict provisions in matters of public health and safety.
On April 6, Walmart Group company Flipkart announced its foray into the healthcare segment by launching a new Flipkart Health Plus app to leverage its reach and serve more than 20,000 PIN areas across the country.
The Flipkart Health Plus platform plans to integrate over 500 independent sellers with a network of licensed pharmacists for medical prescription validation and accurate drug dispensing.
CAIT said no one is allowed to import, manufacture, sell or distribute drugs without a valid license or to sell mislabeled, adulterated or fake drugs, or to sell drugs without an original prescription.
Bhartia and Khandelwal also urged the government to ban online pharmacies to prevent them from hiding behind intermediary provisions under Indian laws in a bid to avoid liability, in case adulterated, fake or counterfeit drugs reach the consumer.
The trade body has called for the banning of middlemen from the marketplace to end deep discounting and predatory pricing, which hurt offline retailers.
CAIT also urged the government to impose a minimum penalty of Rs 1 lakh up to Rs 10 lakh so that offenders like Pharmeasy, Netmeds, Flipkart, Amazon Pharmacy, Tata1Mg, etc. are appropriately penalised.
“To prevent intermediaries from striking creative deals and operating marketplace online pharmacy platforms, we have also called on the government to ensure that no one is allowed to establish a web portal to act as a as an intermediary between the online pharmacy entity and the consumer. ,” It said.
The industry body has called on the government to ensure drugs are only dispensed from a registered retail pharmacy and only by a registered pharmacist.
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