In wake of the increasing misuse of certain drugs as psychotropic substances, a major chemists’ body has written to Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, demanding “strict measures” to check the online sale of drugs without a doctor’s prescription.
All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), which represents more than 8 lakh chemists, in a letter, expressed concerns over the drug menace caused by e-pharmacies operating illegally.
The demand comes in wake of a crackdown on e-pharma companies for selling drugs in violation of set norms and rules. On Saturday, a joint team of drug inspectors of the Punjab health department and police seized a huge quantity of drugs from a warehouse of netmeds.com in Bathinda.
At least 8000 tablets of Tramadol, 2000 tablets of Tapendol and a huge quantity of Corex syrup were recovered from the warehouse during the searches.
The online sale of drugs without proper prescription has raised eyebrows among health experts and druggists, who believe that certain drugs are being used as narcotics and psychotropic substances in Punjab, a state notorious for widespread drug menace.
The letter said, “We have been writing to you and giving representations in person regularly for last many years, regarding the illegality and menace caused by illegally operating e-pharmacies.”
“We have also been cautioning the Government that the increased footprint of e-pharmacies will be detrimental to the health of our country but our Government has not taken any visible action in this regard to date. But now, an e-pharmacy www.netmeds.com owned by India Billionaire Reliance Group Company has been caught red-handed selling medicines falling under Narcotics and Psychotropic Drugs disregarding legal provisions for profits,” it further said.
AIOCD president JS Shinde alleged that manufacturers based in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are selling spurious drugs on such online platforms.
“Our government doesn’t want to see the long and short-term catastrophes these e-pharmacies are causing. The government is so fascinated by the Start Up’s that, waiting for risk of lives of our citizens, and cause thousands of death?”
Criticising the AAP government in Punjab for failing to rein in online pharma companies, the organisation said that the Central and state governments are putting the health of common citizens at risk. “It will be too late to repair the loss if it’s not taken action now.”
“We hope that at least now you will do something to stop these illegally operating e-pharmacies which are against the laws, health, spirit and conscience of our country,” it concluded.