Chemists, pharmacists plan protest against online pharmacies on July 16
Chemists and pharmacists in Mumbai will hold a march on July 16 to protest against sale of medicines online, claiming that the e-market is denting their business. The protesters will march all the way to the Food and Drug Association (FDA) office in Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai Mirror reported.
They also claim that because of the online medium, many regulated drugs are being sold without prescription.
The FDA said the process of suggestions for draft rules to regulate online sales is underway.
It had been reported that Bombay High Court had asked for more refined measures for sale of medicines online. There haven’t been noteworthy actions taken in this regard yet, according to the Maharashtra State Chemist and Druggist Association.
Prasad Danve, president of Retail and Dispensing Chemist Association, said there are many stakeholders involved at the same time. “In many cases, the medicines are ordered in one city, brought from another city while the facilitator sits in a third city. In such cases, the authorities do not take action, claiming it is outside their jurisdiction.”
Those involved in the protest said their business is down by 20 percent in the city since there is no law regulation in the online sphere. “These websites offer great discounts as part of their business model and as a result, we are affected,” said Kailash Tandale, a member of Maharashtra Registered Pharmacists Association.
Meanwhile, India’s online pharmacies are eyeing further growth
Netmeds, Medlife and Medplus Mart are some of the major players of India’s online drug market. India’s pharma market was valued at roughly $33 billion in a reportpublished by India Brand Equity Foundation; online pharmacies occupy around 1.5 percent of the pie so far.
A media report quotes sources saying Medlife aims to do business worth Rs 1,000 crore in 2018-19. Anand Pathak, director of sales at NetMeds, says evolution of e-commerce and success of players like Flipkart and Snapdeal indicated that the next big thing in pharmacy would be the online space.
Unofficial surveys conducted by these companies have found that customers still don’t trust buying medicines online. Their major concerns have been arrival of medicines on time, whether or not it will be genuine and sourced from an authorised dealer.
Other than gaining people’s trust, online pharmacies are also yet to convince the doctor community.
There have also been reports that the provision of ordering medicines online has led to a rise in addiction.