Amid the controversy over online delivery of medicines, it has emerged that the Union Health Ministry had given explicit approval for doorstep delivery of drugs through email since March.
This was done through a notification by the Health Ministry on March 26. It implies that all Indian licensees are permitted to deliver at home and e-pharma is essentially nomenclature.
“Whereas the central government is satisfied that retail sale of drugs to the doorstep of consumers is essential to meet the requirements of emergency arising out of Covid-19 pandemic and in the public interest,” the Ministry said.
“It is necessary and expedient to regulate the sale and distribution of drugs for their delivery to the consumers,” the notification said.
The notification allows licensees to make retail sales of drugs on the basis of a prescription which can be collected physically or through email.
“Now, therefore in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 26 B ofthe Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the Central Government hereby directs that in case any person holding a license in Form 20 or Form 21 under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 to sell, stock or exhibit or offer for sale, or distribute drugs by retail, intends to sell any drugs including the drugs specified in Schedule H except narcotics, psychotropics and controlled substances as defined in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985 and the drugs as specified in Schedule H1 and Schedule X to the said rules, by retail with doorstep delivery of the drug, the licensee can sell such drugs subject to the condition that any such sale of a drug specified in Schedule H shall be based on receipt of prescription physically or through email and such sale of drugs will be subject to the following conditions,” the notification said.
The conditions specified include, “The licensee shall submit an email ID for registration with the licensing authority if prescriptions are to be received through email.”
“The drugs shall be supplied at the doorstep of the patients located within the same revenue district where the licensee is located,” it specifies.
“In case of chronic disease, the prescription shall be dispensed only if it is presented to the licensee within 30 days of its issue and in acute cases, the prescription shall be dispensed only if it is presented to licensee within 7 days of its issue”, the notification said.
“The bill or cash memo shall be sent by the return email and records of all such transactions shall be maintained by the licensee,” the notification said.