As several businesses saw a shift to digital medium during the lockdown, the delivery of medicines also has moved to online platforms.
“As pharmacies have moved to offline-online partnership model, the businesses of local stores like ours has been affected. The licensing has been modified and they are working along with local pharmacists for delivery. However, the prescription and other information is being verified by the local stores. For smaller orders, we have to arrange stocks that are not even profitable for us,” said Ramesh Kumar, a pharmacist in Ekkatuthangal.
The Chemists and Druggists Association also point out at issues of wrong prescriptions and implementation problems working along with e-pharmacies for delivery mechanism.
“There are issues of old prescriptions being reused and wrong prescriptions that are approved by these e-pharmacies that we have to deal with. To streamline the services and delivery of essential drugs during the pandemic, we have not been able to question them too,” said S Ramachandran, president of State Druggists and Chemists Association.
As the Union Health Ministry regulations on e-pharmacies lie in the draft stage, State authorities have had limited intervention for now. The State Drug Controller have approved the functioning of local stores for delivery after the Drug Controller of India allowed the same due to lockdown.
“e-pharmacies should obtain licences for the functioning of the delivery of medications as regulated by Drug Controller General of India. The online registration applications were enabled during the pandemic to facilitate access to medications during the pandemic. However, the final regulations on the licensing of e-pharmacies are in draft stage only, so most of them are opting for tie-ups with local pharmacies,” said Dr K Sivabalan, State Drug Controller