The Indian Pharmaceutical Dealers’ Association (IPDA) has urged the government to allow e-commerce for pharma export as well as for domestic sales. The association wants the pharma manufacturing units to be allowed for the sale of products through retails including e-commerce platforms in domestic and foreign markets.
The association demands to notify adequate policy governing e-commerce and more particularly for exports. Manufacturers or merchant exporters having requisite licenses to manufacture/ trade in Drugs & Cosmetics Act (D&C Act) under Rule 84 and 94, are eligible to export to individual consignees of a drop shipping companies utilising e-commerce platform, directly with no additional compliance under this Act.
IPDA believes that the government needs to amend the Medical Council Act for the better execution of e-commerce in domestic market with respect to generating of prescription in e-format and creation of data base of individual. A retailer under Rule 2(g) of the D&C Rule 1945, can dispense with scan copy of prescription uploaded on the e-commerce website, but physical dispensing should only take place by the competent person/authorised person of retailer at the door steps of the consignee and the conditions of license pursuant to Rule 65 should be complied with. However, if the requisition of such medicines is by a hospital, dispensary or similar organisation compliances of rule of stamping on the prescription can be dispensed with and merely supply based on the electronically uploaded prescription shall constitute to discharge of license condition within the meaning of Rule 65.
Navneet Verma, secretary of IPDA says, “We want pharma industry to utilise e-commerce in two parts. One is in export and the other is in the domestic sales. In the matter of exports, it is indeed disheartening when a select group of authorities as being viewed as regulators interpret technology enabled exports as a clandestine activity amounting to smuggling albeit every export passes through the rigors of scrutiny both in exporting as well in importing countries”.
He further adds, whereas, in the matter of domestic trade utilising e-commerce is objected by the cartel of distributors and retailers who till now have exercised their unbridled monopolistic design by inflicting barriers for free movement of medicines. Therefore, these cartels under a tacit understanding with the authorities do outweigh the benefit of e-commerce which is known and is for the benefit of manufacturers and consumers.
Speaking about the benefits of e-commerce, Verma says “e- commerce shall benefit pharma industry in a way where there exists no geographical barriers or the prevalence of any cartel. Export shall enhance as the availability of pharmaceutical products including life savings shall be easy and at the doorsteps of the customers. Currently, e-commerce is a business of more than Rs. 5,000 crore per annum which is bound to increase with policy clarity and that shall straightway add to the bottom line of Nostro account of banks.”