Strict action against online selling of medicines in Gujarat: 2 pharmacists suspended
At a time when there are no rules or regulations for online selling of medicines have been framed and several cases are pending in various courts, e-pharmacies have started working illegally. Gujarat State Pharmacy Council (GSPC) has suspended the registrations of two pharmacists for five years and imposed fine. For the First time in India such strong action has been initiated against e-pharmacies for violating rule 8 & 9 of Pharmacy Practice Regulation Act. The action has been initiated under the provisions of Rule-36 of Pharmacy Act, 1948.
Mr. Montukumar Patel, president of GSPC said, "We received complaints from alert citizens. We forwarded the complaints to FDCA and requested to take instant action against such illegal activities. We have suspended registration of two pharmacists - Meet Kapadiya and Vasim Pathan associated with such illegal e-pharmacies. Council believes that such e-pharmacies will prompt self-medications. This will endanger the existence of Jan aushadhi store for affordable medicines started by Government. The Council has taken serious note of the complaints and sent them to FDCA to take against action on illegal practising e pharmacy companies and supply channel partners. In another strong action, we have also identified several other pharmacists involved in dual jobs & other illegal activities."
He further added that, "In the meeting of Executive Committee of the Council, it was decided to suspend registration of 84 Pharmacists for one year because of their role in dual jobs. We have completed the action but hearing of more about 150 pharmacists is going on. Council is also considering to organize special hearings for pharmacists involved in such illegal activities. Since last 3 months, registrations of more than 138 pharmacists have been suspended. For the first time in India and in the history of the council, such a big level actions have been initiated."
As per PPR-15 of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1948, it is compulsory to sell medications only after proper counseling by the pharmacist. There are complaints about e-pharmacies that they are selling generic medicines at the rates of branded medicines. Schedule-1 medicines can be dispatched only less than 25-degree centigrade, but the medicines sending by e-pharmacies are through couriers, which has no arrangement of maintaining temperature. This was mentioned in complain submitted to GSPC. The Council has taken serious note of the complaints and sent them to FDCA for necessary action.
Why these actions initiated?
When some alert citizens uploaded single prescription on various e-pharmacy Apps, they received phone call from the companies. The representative was not knowing Gujarati language. There was no arrangement to maintain the temperature. A different Doctor’s name was mentioned against the prescription. Stamp of pharmacist is compulsory on medicine bill, but in e-pharmacy bill no stamp was not seen. Another e-pharmacy company sent medicines without any verification. GSPC has also issued warning to pharmacists who are working as supply chain partners in e-pharmacies. The strong action against such illegal activities may include suspending their registration & license.