Seeking parity with offline players, the Indian Internet Pharmacy Association (IIPA) has urged the government to ensure an end to the local level harassment being faced by new entrepreneurs in the e-pharmacy space.
"The IIPA is demanding a level field for all players in the e-pharmacy space, without favour or bias. We seek clarity on guidelines to 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," IIPA President Prashant Tandon told PTI here.
"The model followed by IIPA members is fully compliant with the law. We have a digital platform governed by IT Act 2000, which transmits the prescription to an existing offline licensed pharmacy," he said.
The e-pharmacy business model benefits consumers due to increased transparency, access, affordability and convenience.
Additionally, the model holds tremendous promise for regulators to tackle the issues of fake medicines since the entire supply chain is well documented and tracked, which also ensures better pharmacovigilance and monitoring the effects of medical drugs after they have been licensed for use.
Tandon said the debate has to be of compliance vs non compliance and not online vs offline.
"Any player that violates the law should be brought to book, without favor or bias against one model against the other. However, responsible and credible players who are making this sector better and transparent, such as members of IIPA, should not be harassed by uninformed local level inspectors," Tandon said.
Expressing full faith in the government, Tandon said local level harassment of e-pharmacy players should cease.
The government should come out with an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and innovation to flourish in this space, which requires a lot of capital and technology to solve many problems that have plagued this industry, he added.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier directed all the state/UT drug controllers to keep a strict watch on online sale of drugs and take action against tviolations of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules.
Tandon said the association supports all efforts to clamp down on violators and help clear misconceptions.
IIPA pointed out that there are potentially multiple online pharmacies operating from different parts of the world that need to be monitored.
In most countries, to fight this menace of cross border internet pharmacies, legitimate players are given specific operating licences that are shared with consumers, IIPA said, recommending a similar model for India.