E-commerce has many segments and online sale of medicine is just one of it. However, medicines and pharmaceuticals are very sensitive commodities to be graded freely. Therefore, there are many techno legal regulatory compliances that are applicable to online dale of medicines world over. There are specific laws for online pharmacies in India and for opening of online pharmacy stores in India.
Chinese firms and companies have become very active in the field of e-commerce. China also has better infrastructure and regulatory regime than India as far as online pharmacies are concerned. Although some computerisation efforts have been undertaken in India yet they are insufficient to manage online pharmacies regime in India.
On the other hand, leading Chinese e-commerce firms like Alibaba and Jingdong have set their sights on the pharmaceutical e-commerce market, which is worth thousands of billions of yuan, though they will first have to tackle multiple barriers in the way of entering the market. However, if they wish to target Indian market, they have to comply with techno legal requirements of Indian laws.
Beijing has imposed strict regulations on the sales of medicinal products on the internet. According to regulations, vendors must be approved by the State Food and Drug Administration and will have to possess the internet-based Drug Information Service Certificate and the Internet Drug Transaction Service Certificate to sell drugs online. As of early April, less than 170 business-to-consumer (B2C) websites had obtained the two certificates. Due to the regulation barriers, most e-commerce giants can only sell the products online on behalf of legal sellers.
While traditional e-commerce websites have a steady stream of visitors, they cannot take a share of the online pharmaceutical market. On the other hand, while traditional pharmaceutical companies have an advantage in products and certificates, they have had difficulty venturing into the B2C pharmaceutical market.