Delhi high court bans online sale of medicines across India

In a landmark ruling, the Delhi High Court has ordered a ban on the sale of medicines online by e-pharmacists across India and has directed the Delhi government and the Centre to put the order into effect immediately. The order was passed by a division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar Rao on a petition filed by Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, who sought a ban on “illegal” sale of drugs and medicines online. The PIL expressed concern over the unregulated sales of medicines on the internet. The PIL further stated that the government has failed in its responsibility to protect public health and fulfill its obligation under Article 21 of the constitution by allowing unchecked online sales. It also highlighted that the online sale of medicines is not permitted under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Pharmacy Act, 1948. In 2015, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) clearly instructed state authorities to curb sales of medicines online in order to protect public health, but the practice continued. In some cases, medicines were sold without prescriptions.

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