Business Bureau :
THE Government should finalise and notify e-pharmacy rules immediately as the regulatory uncertainty dampens growth and new investment in the sector, according to the experts. Panellists on the discussion also said there remains ambiguity on the legality of marketplaces. They were participating in a discussion on ‘e-Pharmacy: Digitally Empowering Consumers and Small Businesses’ organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
“We must notify the rules which are catching dust within the ministry at the earliest opportunity. All e-pharmacies are governed by law and governed by the manner which is being spelt out in the law,” Patients Safety and Access Founder Director Bejon Misra said. The notification is pending and it should come out as soon as possible, he added. “We must encourage healthy competition at the marketplace and we must encourage ethical players, we must recognise them,” Misra said. In a similar vein, 1mg Chief Operating Officer Tanmay Saksena said: “Our model is completely compliant under a combination of various regulations that already exist, what we are really requesting and hoping is that there will be harmonisation of all the regulations under one common aegis.”
E-pharmacies are already operating under pre-defined regulations. “We are subject to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. We are purely platforms linking consumers to the pharmacies that already exist in the ecosystem and have introduced better trackability and traceability,” he added.
The retail pharmacy sector needs a lot of supply chain, technology and access solutions to make healthcare delivery more efficient and affordable, and a prerequisite for this is a simple and clear regulatory pathway for innovation to thrive in this important space, Internet and Mobile Association of India said in a statement. It also expressed hope that the issues being faced by the e-Pharmacy sector will now be addressed through a quick notification of the pending e-Pharmacy draft rules, Internet and Mobile Association of India further added.