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Delhi HC Refuses to Vacate Stay on Online Sale of Medicines

The plea application filed by Zaheer Ahmed, sought a ban on the "illegal" sale of drugs and medicines online.

Angana Chakrabarti |

Updated:January 8, 2019, 10:22 PM IST
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to vacate the stay on sale of drugs and prescription medicines by online pharmacies.

The court said the stay will continue till the next date of hearing, which is, February 6, noting the submissions of the Central government counsel that rules are yet to be framed to regulate such entities.

"Keeping in view the amendments made by the Union of India in its counter affidavit, based on reports of various committees and the fact that statutory rules are yet to be framed, we are not inclined to vacate the interim order. It will continue till the next date," a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao said.

The Centre's counsel said the government is in the process of framing rules in this regard. During the hearing, one of the online pharmacies seeking to be impleaded in the matter informed the court that the division bench of Madras High Court has vacated the stay on online sale of medicines.

The pharmacies also urged the court to remove the prohibition on online sale of drugs, saying they held licences and no medicines were sold illegally.

The plea application filed by Zaheer Ahmed, sought a ban on the "illegal" sale of drugs and medicines online.

In his petition, Ahmed, who is represented by senior advocate Arvind Nigam and advocate Nakul Mohta, has said that the online illegal sale of medicines would lead to a drug epidemic, drug abuse and mis-utilisation of habit forming and addictive drugs.

He also claimed that the Ministry of Health, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation and an expert committee appointed by the drug consultative committee have already concluded that the online sale of medicines was in contravention of the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the other allied laws.

"It is a matter of public knowledge that e-commerce websites have been caught on numerous occasions of selling fake products. Unlike consumer items, drugs are extremely potent substances and consuming wrong dose or fake medicine can have fatal consequences on the patient," Ahmed wrote in the plea application.

It has also sought direction for constitution of an expert committee to find out the total number of websites which are distributing and selling the drugs in the country and to impose a ban on the online sale and purchase of medicines. ​

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