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The Madras High Court stayed the sale of medicines online on an appeal from the Chennai based Tamil Nadu Chemists & Druggists Association. The interim injunction  was given by Justice R Mahadevan after the association sought blocking of websites links that offerd medicines online.

The court directed the Centre to file a counter and posted the matter for further hearing to November 9. The petitioner sought a direction to block the link of all such websites who are carrying online sale of Schedule H, H1 & Schedule X medicines in violation of Rule 65 & 97 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, till the licences are granted to sell medicines through online. According to the association, though online shopping might be convenient to consumers, purchasing medicines from unlicensed online stores can be risky as they may sell fake, expired, contaminated, unapproved drugs or otherwise unsafe products that are dangerous to patients and which might put their health at risk.

Moreover, laws for pharmacies in India are derived from Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, Drugs and Cosmetics Rule, 1945 and Pharmacy Act, 1948.

These laws were written prior to arrival of computers and India does not have any concrete laws defined for online sale of medicines, the association submitted. Though various amendments have been made to the Act no provision has been made to utilize.

—India Legal Bureau

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