New Delhi: The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) said on Monday that it will ban companies selling medicines online if they are found to be violating the rules. The DCGI also directed all state governments and Union territories to take action against e-pharmacies if they are found to be in breach of regulations.

At present, there is no ban on the sale of medicines online, contrary to a media report published on Monday, although drugs can’t be sold except with a doctor’s prescription.

The government formed a seven-member panel to look into the issue of online drug sales, Mint reported on 8 December.

The sale and distribution of drugs in the country is regulated under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940, and the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. As per the rules, drugs can’t be sold except with the prescription of a registered medical practitioner.

The major players in the online pharmacy business are PharmaEasy, Merapharmacy, Medicare, Medsnoprescriptiononline, 3G Chemist, Netmeds, Online Doctor, Toppills, Medplussmart, Pharmlex, Topgenericmeds, CanDrugStore, Planetdrugsdirect, Pharmstore and Doctorsolve.

Last year, the DCGI had appointed industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) to frame guidelines for the online sale of medicines through e-commerce channels.

In October, chemists across the country observed a one-day strike to protest a move by the government to regularize the online sale of medicines and demanded a ban on the same.

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