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Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai June 02 , 2017
The Union health ministry is close to giving final touches on framing a policy on the use of information technology in online pharmacy by launching a centralised portal to help make use of technology for making medicines available in a regulated and feasible manner.

CDSCO is in consultation with Department of Pharmaceuticals, Law Ministry and Commerce Ministry to develop a centralised online system and will involve manufacturers and supply chain managers to develop a fool-proof system.

Online pharmacy is currently governed by Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 but recommendations from all stakeholder have been sought on the broad contours of a policy that will also ensure a level playing field for online pharmacies vis-a-vis traditional retailers.

Drug Consultative Committee had met on November 6, 2016 and accepted the much awaited recommendations of a select group of state drug regulators on online pharmacy under the chairmanship of Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr Harshadeep Kamble.

This according to DCGI Dr G N Singh will involve building capacities wherein new technology can become useful and feasible with out disturbing the existing systems followed by a clear-cut policy on regulating online pharmacies.

The drug consultative committee under the Union health ministry had last year deliberated on aspects related to information technology which can be aligned with the drug regulations existing currently to suit patient needs among other major pain points.

Guidelines on the same had been submitted recently by the Sub-Committee set up by the 48th Drug Consultative Committee under the chairmanship of Maharashtra FDA Commissioner Dr Harshdeep Kamble. The sub-committee had taken representations and views from the concerned stakeholders for a comprehensive online policy which will mark a positive step towards formulating a policy and subsequent release of a set of guidelines on the use of information technology in online pharmacy and authorise its legal validity.

In most countries, the legitimate online pharmacies are given specific operating licenses that are shared with consumers to fight the menace of cross border internet pharmacies.

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