Indian government has miserably failed to regulate illegal and dangerously flourishing online pharmacies in India. Online medicines sales in India are still considered to be unregulated and are operating without any hassle. There are many techno legal requirements to operate online pharmacies in India but hardly any of them follow the same. The laws for opening of online pharmacies in India are scattered under different statutes. But they must be duly complied with by online pharmacies operating in India that is not happening presently.
Besides violating the applicable Indian laws many online pharmacies are managed and controlled by criminal elements. It has now been reported that thousands of websites selling illegal pharmaceutical products without prescriptions are controlled by underworld and organised criminal networks. These illegal online pharmacies and healthcare websites in India need to be curbed and blocked as soon as possible by Indian government. In fact, illegal online pharmacies websites are on hit list of Google and federal authorities of U.S.
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in Maharashtra has taken series of actions against distributors involved in online pharmacy and seized illegal medicines worth in crores of rupees. Till now, Mumbai FDA has seized Rs 2 crore worth of Sildenafil Citrate, popularly known as Viagra, from 27 online firms in Mumbai, Thane and Pune for selling the drug illegally to African and European countries. The FDA is still investigating the matter and more such companies might face action for illegal sale of drugs without a licence and prescription in contravention to Section 18 C and 18 (a) (6) of D&C Act.
If FDA officials are believed, then underworld is controlling the online pharmacy business. Most of the international drug traffickers operate in the US, India, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean, all part of the illegal network. These e-traffickers distribute drugs worldwide using these internet pharmacies. The modus operandi is simple. Money transaction is done to Indian companies. Later, Indian distributors or suppliers send these drug via post offices or courier them to patients across the country and outside.
Maharashtra FDA has already approached DCGI for regulating illegal online pharmacies operating in India. The online sales of prescribed drugs in India are also under DGCA scanner. The regulatory and legislative measures to check online pharmacies trading in banned drugs in India are also in pipeline. The digital communication channels for drugs and healthcare products in India are also subject to numerous regulatory compliances. All these issues require implementation of techno legal measures on the part of Indian government.