New Delhi: Taking note of the rapid growth of e-commerce in the pharmacy and health sector, a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce has recently opined that there needs to be stringent rules for regulating the e-health and e-pharmacy sectors.
Such an opinion has been expressed by the Rajya Sabha Parliamentary Committee as it observed that absence of rules might negatively affect the people receiving the healthcare facilities.
Apart from this, the Panel has also expressed its concern regarding the possible misuse of such e-commerce platforms in the pharmacy and health sector resulting in the distribution of illegal or unethical medicines.
The committee also noted that the Draft E-Pharmacy rules have not been finalised till date and therefore, the panel recommended the government for the speedy implementation of the same.
Headed by Shri V. Vijaysai Reddy, the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce presented its 172nd report on the subject ‘Promotion and Regulation of E-Commerce in India to the Hon’ble Chairman of Rajya Sabha on 15th June, 2022.
Expressing its concern regarding the possible misuse of the e-pharmacy and e-health sectors, the Parliamentary Committee noted in its report, “The Committee, while appreciating the rise of e-commerce in the pharmacy and health sector, expresses concern at the possible misuse of such avenues for distribution of illegal or unethical medicines or outdated, substituted, or counterfeit medications amid the absence of regulations.”
Therefore, the Panel recommended, “Stringent regulation of the e-health and e-pharmacy sector is essential in view of the potential harm it can cause to health of end user in case of misuse. The Committee, therefore, recommends that a comprehensive guideline that encompasses the due diligence measures to be undertaken by the e-pharmacy/e-health platforms, mandatory registration with the appropriate authority for sale of drugs, assigning responsibility on such platforms for the sale of genuine drugs, regulating the sale of controlled drugs, etc., should be formulated in consultation with the stakeholders.”
Besides, noting that the Draft E-Pharmacy Rules have not been finalised yet, the Panel noted in its report, “The Committee is appalled to observe that the Draft E-Pharmacy Rules have not been finalised till date. The Committee reiterates that undue delay in adopting a definitive regulatory framework results in uncertainty which is not conducive for the fast pace digital markets. The Committee, therefore, recommends the Draft E-Pharmacy Rules are finalised and implemented without further delay.”