The Indian Internet Pharmacy Association (IIPA) has sought clarity on online pharmacy rules currently under review based on its recent meetings with Indian drug regulatory authorities in Karnataka and Maharashtra.
IIPA is a group of online pharmacies represented by 1mg.com, Bookmeds, mChemist, Medidart, Medlife, Medstar, Netmeds, Pharmeasy, Zigy.com, SaveOnMedicals and Savemymeds.
They have also urged an online pharmacy model to tackle the issues of fake medicines through a well documented on- line tracking system as absence of traceability of medicines across the supply chain has led to issues related to safety and quality of the drugs.
Recommendations are currently being reviewed by a Sub-Committee constituted by the 48th Drug Consultative Committee under the Chairmanship of Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr Harshdeep Kamble to formulate guidelines on the use of information technology in online pharmacy and authorise its legal validity. Online pharmacy is currently governed by Information Technology Act, 2000 and Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
This problem can only be addressed according to IIPA through an evolved system leveraging technology to track medicines right up to the consumer.
They have also suggested best practices from around the world to incorporate in the online pharmacy model existing in the country and are keen to work with the drug regulator to draw out the blueprint on the same. IIPA has pinpointed that there are potentially multiple online pharmacies operating from different parts of the world that need to be monitored. To fight the menace of cross border internet pharmacies, in most countries, the legitimate players are given specific operating licenses that are shared with consumers. IPA recommends a similar model for India, and also a crackdown on all illegitimate players, online and offline.
This according to them will enable legitimate players to develop their business in this space and bring in the much needed innovation and technology driven transparency in this sector, leveraging best practices from across the world.