Hyderabad: The expected rise in online pharmacy stores without proper regulation has become a concern to many.
There is only one Central regulation committee for both Telugu states, with 12 drug inspectors.
Pharmacists point to the easy availability of medicines online without checks, though in fact even brick and mortar chemists rarely ask for prescriptions.
The All India Chemists Group has decided to organise a nation-wide bandh of around 8.5 lakh medical shops on September 28 in protest. There have been two bandhs on earlier occasions.
What has ignited the protests this time is a Central government notification regarding the sale of online medicines and inviting objections and suggestions from the public.
The group is against the Centre’s decision to encourage e-pharmacies because it will mean financial losses for them and endangers public health. The group points out that many developed countries are staying away from the e-pharmacy system.
Mr Janardhan Reddy, president of the Telangana Chemists & Druggists Association, said even with a regulatory mechanism and more than 100 state drug inspectors in each state, there was a lot of misuse of medicines. If the sale of medicines starts through online portals, it would be even more difficult to regulate. Moreover, online store inspections can be carried out only by central drug inspectors, and there are only 12 of them in the two states.
Also, according to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, giving medicines based on prescription without verifying mechanism is against the rules. Experts opine that there is a chance of re-using old prescriptions on different sites to get more than the prescribed dose, or creating a fake prescription note.
Mr Reddy pointed to the many habit forming drugs in the market which young people can access easily online. There is no record of qualified doctors and their registered numbers with the government who can verify the prescriptions sent to e-Pharmacies....