pharmacy: Chemists’ organisation urges drugmakers to not advertise on e-pharmacy platforms

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The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has urged pharmaceutical companies to refrain from advertising their products on e-pharmacy platforms, alleging that some of the online medicine sellers are operating illegally.

“AIOCD is committed to upholding the rules and regulations… We have observed that various pharmaceutical companies are advertising their products on illegal e-pharmacy platforms. We urge you to refrain from such advertising…,” it said in a letter dated November 23.

It said some e-pharmacy platforms are operating in violation of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules of 1945.

“They defy the principles of prescription and dispensation outlined in the Act,” the letter said, adding that an injunction order and contempt of court proceedings are in place against their operations in the Delhi High Court.

The apex body of chemists also alerted the companies regarding issuance of show cause notice by the Drugs Controller General of India.

It alleged that e-pharmacy platforms influence market conditions with their “predatory pricing”. This, the AIOCD’s letter said, “Creates monopolistic market conditions. They manipulate sales of competitor brands on their platform.””The members who combat monopolistic practices feel demotivated seeing advertisements on these platforms,” it said. “Supporting such entities contradicts the values our members have stood for.”The Delhi High Court has been hearing pleas seeking a ban on “illegal” sale of medicines online. In its November 16 order, the court asked the government to frame a policy within eight weeks. The matter has been listed for March 4, 2024.

The court said that if the government fails to frame a policy within the stipulated period, the joint secretary dealing with the policy will have to be “personally present in court” on the next date of hearing.

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