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Delhi High Court Orders Ban on sale of Online Medicines

Published on December 16, 2018
The Delhi High Court has ordered a ban on the sale of online medicines by E-pharmacies across the country.
Delhi High Court Orders Ban on sale of Online Medicines
  • A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao has also ordered Central and Delhi Governments to implement the order.
  • The court was acting on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Zaheer Ahmed, a Delhi based dermatologist.
  • The main complaints in the PIL were as follows:
    • Medicines worth Lakhs was being sold online everyday without much regulation and posing a huge risk to patients as well as doctors.
    • Online sale of medicines is not permitted under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Pharmacy Act, 1948.
    • The Drug Controller General of India in 2015 had clearly directed all state drug controllers to protect the interest of public health by restraining such sale online.
    • By allowing unchecked online sales, the government has failed in its responsibility to protect public health and fulfill its obligation under Article 21 of the constitution (right to life).
    • Drugs are different from common items; and their misuse and abuse can have serious consequences for public health.
    • Internet is used by a large number of children, minors and also uneducated people in rural areas. They can become victims of wrong medication.
    • Online pharmacies are working without drug licenses and are also indulged in selling psychotropic substances.

About the Legal Status of Online Pharmacies:

  • The Union Health Ministry had come out with draft rules on sale of drugs by E-pharmacies in September 2018.
  • The objective of these rules was to regulate the sale of medicines across India.
  • The government did not ban the sale of drugs online because such sale also provides the patients in remote areas access to genuine drugs from authentic portals. 
  • The draft rules had mandated that no person will distribute or sell, stock, exhibit or offer for sale of drugs through e-pharmacy portal unless registered.


Q. The Delhi High Court has ordered a ban on the sale of medicines by which type of entities across the country?
a. Grocery shop Pharmacies
b. E-Pharmacies
c. Hospital Pharmacies
d. None of the above

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