Delhi High Court directs Central Government to Frame Policy on Online Medicine Sales Within Eight Weeks
In 2018, the online sale of drugs was stayed, as it violated the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and the Pharmacy Act, 1948
The Delhi High Court has directed the Central Government to frame a policy regarding the online sale of medicines within eight weeks.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna stated that the government was being granted a last chance to come up with a policy because the matter has been pending before the Court for five years.
The Court held, “The Central government standing counsel Kirtiman Singh states that consultation and deliberation are still going on qua the raft notification of 28 August 2018, relating to the online sale of drugs. As more than five years have lapsed, the Union of India has had sufficient time to frame the policy. However, one last opportunity is granted to frame the policy in eight weeks. In the event the policy is not framed, the concerned Joint Secretary dealing with the subject shall be personally present in the Court on the next date of hearing.”
The bench was dealing with a batch of petitions seeking a ban on the illegal sale of drugs online. The petitions also challenged the draft rules published by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to further amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules.
In December 2018, the Court had passed an order stopping the online sale of drugs since it was not permitted under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and the Pharmacy Act, 1948.
A similar issue had cropped up in 2018 before the Madras High Court.
The Delhi High Court is also seized by a contempt petition seeking action against e-pharmacies for continuing to sell drugs online. Action has been sought against the government for not acting against defaulting e-pharmacies despite the Court’s orders.
Meanwhile, the e-pharmacies have told the Court that they do not require a license for the online sale of drugs and prescription medicines, as they are only delivering the medications like food is delivered through apps such as Swiggy and other platforms.