Formulating Rules to govern e-pharmacies, Centre tells Delhi High Court
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Formulating Rules to govern e-pharmacies, Centre tells Delhi High Court

Aditi Singh

The Central Government today informed the Delhi High Court that it is formulating relevant Rules and Regulations to govern the sale of medicines online through e-pharmacies.

“Steps have been taken to formulate the rules…process of consideration is on”, Standing Counsel Kirtiman Singh said.

The statement was made before a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar in a petition by one Dr. Zaheer Khan to curb the operation of e-pharmacies.

The petition filed through advocates Nakul Mohta and Misha Rohatgi Mohta claimed that lakhs of medicines are being sold online through e-pharmacies, in spite of a direction of the Drug Controller General of India to state drug controllers “to put a strict vigil on online sale of medicines in violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules thereunder, to protect the interest of public health.”

Pursuant to the petition, the Court had in December last year directed the Central government and the Delhi government to restrain the online sale of medicines by e-pharmacies, as the same is not permitted under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the Pharmacy Act, 1948.

During the course of the hearing, the petitioner also referred to his contempt petition filed against the Central and State Governments, as well as several e-pharmacies.

The petitioner has contended that due to the callous and negligent attitude of the officials,  the e-pharmcies are still not only advertising, but also running their website/phone applications to sell medicines.

Considering the fact that the process of consultation was still on, the Court adjourned the matter.

The Court also granted more time to the Centre to file its response to the contempt plea.

The matter will be heard next on September 24.

In April, the Delhi High Court had issued notice in a contempt petition filed against the Centre, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, and the Drugs Controller, Delhi. E-pharmacies and online merchants like IMG Technologies, 91 Streets Media Technologies, Corner Store Technologies and Dunzo Digital were also served.

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