Online pharmacies are double edge swords. On the one hand they are beneficial to the masses as they provide easy and affordable medicines to the patients and those who are in need of them. On the other hand they are potential source of spurious and dangerous substances passed as medicines that could prove fatal in many cases.
Recently Indian government has launched technology driven projects and initiatives like Digital India, Internet of Things (IoT) (PDF), etc. The aim of Indian government is to utilise the benefits of technology to render various services to Indian population. Healthcare is one of the segments that have been targeted by these projects.
However, projects like Digital India are suffering from many shortcomings and this has made the Digital India project vulnerable to judicial interventions. Just like the Supreme Court of India had to interfere in the Aadhaar and section 66A cases, the Supreme Court of India may also have to interfere with the implementation of Digital India project.
This is because the digital India project is not supported by a well drafted and analysed plan and policy decision of Indian government. Further, Digital India is also relying upon illegal and problematic platforms and technology like Aadhaar itself that makes the Digital India project itself vulnerable to judicial attacks.
So from the present position one can easily deduce that there is no correlation and synergy between Digital India and the healthcare initiatives of Indian government. The healthcare laws of India are simply outdated, irrelevant and ill suited to meet the objective of Digital India. Fields like e-health, m-health, telemedicine, etc require dedicated techno legal framework that is missing in India. As a result, healthcare industry and healthcare entrepreneurs of India are presently acting more on the side of violation than compliances.
At Perry4Law we strongly recommend that online pharmacies must be suitably regulated in India for the larger benefit of Indian population. So bad is the situation that many online pharmacies in India are controlled by underworld and organised criminal networks. It is very important to sort out illegal online pharmacies from those that are operating within the parameters of Indian laws.
Similarly, online pharmacies operating in India must conduct a proper cyber law due diligence (PDF) exercise to make it sure that they are on the right side of the law. As on date most of the online pharmacies operating form India are not complying with the techno legal requirement as prescribed by Indian laws. It is for Indian government to punish such illegal online pharmacies so that health hazards can be prevented at the earliest stages.