Maharashtra FDA cracks down on online sale of medicines

The Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has launched a massive crackdown on the online sale of medicines, under the provisions of Drugs & Cosmetics Act and Rules.

An officer, involved in the crackdown, told Business Standard, “The agency has so far filed seven first information reports (FIRs) against these suppliers and cancelled nine licences. Besides, show cause notices have been issued to four suppliers and referred five cases to other state drug controllers. FDA has also filed prosecution against a supplier as on date.”

The officer, however, said these actions were not enough. He said the problem was majority of these websites were registered outside Maharashtra. “FDA has also observed that in many occasions the online orders were being fulfilled through shops, located in other states including Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka,” the officer said. He said the agency’s action should be replicated in other states, too.

The officer listed out risks involved in the online sale of medicines. “Illegal pharmacies sometimes send outdated, substitute or counterfeit medicines and these may not be located in the country they claim to be. A study of drug shipments, claiming to be from Canada, revealed they actually originated in several countries and turned out to be bogus,” the officer said.

He said, “Minors can order these controlled substances online without adult supervision. Other concerns were related to potential lack of confidentiality and improper packaging.”


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