Chennai, Jan 2:
A Division Bench of the Madras High Court vacated an interim stay passed by it against online sale of medicines on a batch of petitions filed by e-pharma firms to stay the operation of an order passed by a single judge of the court on December 17 banning online sale of medicines till the Centre notifies the statutory rules to regulate the trade.The interim stay was to last till the central government notifies rules regulating the trade.
Vacating the stay imposed by a single judge of the court, a division bench of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam said, “If online trade is prohibited all of a sudden, it will affect the needy patients and those who have already ordered for medicines.” It posted the appeal for final hearing on January 24.
On December 17, disposing of a plea moved by the Tamil Nadu Chemists & Druggists Association, a single judge of the court directed the Centre to notify the rules governing the trade on or before January 31 and stayed all such trade through online mode till such notification is issued.
Aggrieved, online pharma traders moved an appeal in the high court. They contended that most of them were licence holders under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and others were just aggregators who act as couriers for licensed pharmacies.
They further informed the court that the Centre had framed draft rules to govern such online sale and the same would be notified soon.
According to the association, though online shopping might be convenient to consumers, purchasing medicines from unlicensed online stores could be risky as they might sell fake, expired, contaminated and unapproved drugs or unsafe products that are dangerous to patients and that might put their health at risk.