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You may have to wait a little longer before you can buy medicines online. The drug regulator has imposed a temporary ban on online sales of medicines even as the government is yet to take a final call on the issue.

Asking state drug inspectors to keep a "strict vigil on online sale of medicines", the central regulator said those indulging in online sale of medicines in violations of the law will face strong action including a heavy penalty.

Meanwhile, many online platforms have come up which sell medicines including prescription drugs. While most of these players operate on the aggregator model by networking with a local chemist which supplies the drug against prescriptions submitted online by consumers, there are serious concerns related to safety and efficacy of medicines supplied like this. Also, the regulator is concerned about the authenticity of prescriptions submitted online.

The central drug regulator said that in past few months it has received several representations highlighting "serious concerns" on issues impacting public health some of which may endanger human lives, rendering pharmacovigilance machinery ineffective. It has also expressed concern that even if the regulator finds out a problem in any particular online sale, it may not be possible to recall drugs or there may be compromise in storage conditions etc.

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In July last year, the government had formed a sub-committee to examine issues related to sale of medicines through internet and its impact on public health, following complaints against Snapdeal for allegedly violating the drug law. The committee is yet to submit its report.

However, in an order issued to all state drug authorities, the central regulator said such concerns "cannot be ignored/kept pending" till the report of the sub-committee becomes available.

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gov should come up with some good rule over online drug saleVikas

The health ministry is likely to base its final decision to allow or disallow online sale of prescription drugs based on the committee's recommendations.

In October, wholesale and retail drug traders had also gone on a nationwide strike to protest against the government's inaction in restricting online sales of medicines.
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