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The Karnataka government has now categorically stated that online sale of drugs would not be permitted until the Union government comes out with its clear-cut guidelines.

The online sale of drugs will not be permitted until the rules are in place, said Karnataka health and family welfare minister UT Khader adding that there was some confusion over this issue with no clarity on the system of e-pharmacy.

All states in the country are left perplexed with no policy on online pharmacy, although technology should be put in place, said the minister who was the chief guest at the final day of the 67th Indian Pharmaceutical Congress held in Mysuru between December 19 and 21, 2015.

In the presence of the Dr. GN Singh, Drugs Controller General of India and president of the 67th Indian Pharmaceutical Congress, the minister urged the regulatory authority to ensure that all states could opt for online pharmacy only if rules and regulations were formulated and circulated in a time bound manner.

The minister also articulated his apprehensions on drug abuse by the youth if drugs could be purchased via the online pharmacy format. There was also a concern on purchasing such drugs with the same prescription and this would only lead to irrational drug use.

At present smoking and drug abuse are rampant among the youth. Through online pharmacy, there was every chance for the youth to purchase drugs that were sedative in nature and leading to its substance dependence. Therefore online pharmacy business model is seen to be detrimental to health of the Indian population, he said.

“Currently, the state department of health and family welfare mandates that no drugs can be sold without prescription and if pharmacists were engaged in this practice then it would amount to cancellation of trade license cancellation,” Khader said.

He urged the pharmacy professionals to discuss the issue of online drug sales and suggested steps that can help in framing the guidelines for online pharmacy at speedy pace. Many people have a negative opinion about the pharmacy profession, but now it is the pharmacist only who could convince the community that they were in service and welfare of the people.
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