Skip to main content

The Government has been Very Supportive on e-Pharmacies

The Government has been Very Supportive on e-Pharmacies
The online pharmacy sector expects regulations to be streamlined by the end of this year, Prashant Tandon, CEO of 1mg and president of the India Internet Pharmacy Association, said in an interview. Edited excerpts:
How has regulation been a pain for e-pharmacy startups? In the last two years, many epharmacies had to shut because they were harassed by the local players. When a drug inspector comes to a vendor he knows only the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. We need to see it in light of the IT Act, which supersedes all other acts in terms of applicability. What we have been asking is that since the IT Act supersedes all other Acts in terms of applicability, all of that needs to be harmonised and communicated though one notification.
On that, the government has taken a very positive stance on that but hasn’t yet introduced any notification. We have been assured that work is in progress towards that. But the local harassment has reduced.What about your demand to be treated at par with offline pharmacies? There are a lot of laws in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act that we comply with but (in reality) these don’t apply to offline pharmacies, which continue to dispense medicines without prescriptions. The law should be uniformly applicable across the board. It should not be the case that because we are following the law
we lose business. What are your main demands? Harmonise all major applicable laws and Acts—definition of marketplaces as per DIPP, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, and the IT Act. The Drugs and Cosmetics Act needs to be updated so that it is implementable in the online world. We are also demanding that the government mandate the registry of all e-pharmacies. What the US and Europe have done is that only those e-pharmacies that have registered in the country are allowed to sell within the country. We have asked for a similar thing.Also, things like taking a relook at the classification of medicines. Many medicines are under no schedule.
What headway have you achieved? We are in active conversations with multiple departments of the government, including the health ministry, the IT ministry and DIPP. We have been assured that by the end of this year everything will be streamlined. What we have been asking has been accepted in principle at least.The government has been very proactive and supportive. In the Niti Aayog’s three-year road map, e-pharmacy finds mention as something to be clarified by the end of this year. The draft pharmaceutical policy also validates e-phamacy.
How have the regulatory roadblocks hampered growth plans? Initially, it was proposed that epharmacies should have a physical presence in the states they operate in. We have reservations against that proposal. Interstate restrictions defeat a lot of value for customers. We are in almost 600 cities. As of today, we do not do interstate shipments. But that is a value that e-pharmacies can provide. In every state (we operate in) we make shipments through multiple partners
The Mint, New Delhi, 17th October 2017


Popular posts from this blog

RBI minutes show MPC members flagged upside risks to inflation

RBI minutes show MPC members flagged upside risks to inflation Concerns about economic growth and easing inflation prompted five of the six monetary policy committee (MPC) members to call for a cut in the repo rate, but most warned that prices could start accelerating, show the minutes of the panel’s last meeting, released on Wednesday. The comments reflected a tone of caution and flagged upside risks to inflation from farm loan waivers, rise in food prices, especially vegetables, price revisions withheld ahead of the goods and services tax, implementation of house rent allowance under the 7th pay commission and fading of favourable base effect, among others. On 2 August, the panel chose to cut the repurchase rate—the rate at which the central bank infuses liquidity in the banking system—by 25 basis points to 6%. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. Pami Dua, professor at the Delhi School of Economics, wrote that her analysis showed “a fading economic growth outlook, as …

Shrinking footprints of foreign banks in India

Shrinking footprints of foreign banks in India Foreign banks are increasingly shrinking their presence in India and are also becoming more conservative than private and public sector counterparts. While many of them have sold some of their businesses in India as part of their global strategy, some are trying to keep their core expertise intact. Others are branching out to newer areas to continue business momentum.For example, HSBC and Barclays Bank in India have got out of the retail business, whereas corporate-focused Standard Chartered Bank is now trying to increase its focus on retail “Building a retail franchise is a huge exercise and takes a long time. You cannot afford to lose it,” said Shashank Joshi, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ’s India head.According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, foreign banks’ combined loan book shrunk nearly 10 per cent from Rs 3.78 trillion in fiscal 2015-16 to Rs 3.42 trillion last financial year. The banking industry, which includes foreign banks…

Differential Tax Levy under GST: Food Firms May De-Register Trademarks

Differential Tax Levy under GST:Food Firms May De-Register Trademarks The government’s decision to charge an enhanced tax rate on trademark food brands is leading several rice, wheat and cereal manufacturers to consider de-registering their product trademarks. Irked by the June 28 central government notification fixing a 5 per cent goods and services tax (GST) rate on food items packaged in unit containers and bearing registered brand names, the industry has made several representations to the government to reconsider the differential tax levy, which these players say is creating an unlevel playing field within these highly-competitive and low-margin industries. Sources say that the move has affected the packaged rice industry the hardest and allowed the un-registered market leaders, India Gate and Daawat, to gain advantage as compared to other registered brands such as Kohinoor and Lal Qilla. Smaller players are even more worried with this enhanced rate of tax (against the otherwise …