An online pharmacy or mail order pharmacy is one that operates over the Internet and sends the orders to customers through the mail or shipping companies. This growing industry has come up with disambiguated faces, stranding between being either a boon or a counterfeit coin.
What the law says.
In the last few years, E-commerce platform has picked up its pace globally as well as in India. However, online pharmacy concept in India is still at a very nascent stage because the Indian law does not permit it. According to the Pharmacy Act subsection 1 of section 42 of Indian Pharmacy Act 1948, “No person other than a registered pharmacist shall compound, prepare, mix, or dispense any medicine on the prescription of a medical practitioner.” Section 42 (2) also states, “Whoever contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine not exceeding Rupees 1,000 or with both.”
What the expert says.
“With the growing use of Internet-based shopping, we are seeing a huge increase in sales via the Internet. However, sales of medicines is not permitted since the law requires the sale to happen in a licensed store, sale to be effected by a pharmacist and sale to be effected based on a prescription. Some companies have already started to find loopholes in the law and have started to sell medicines over the Internet, recognizing the need for Internet-based sales of medicines.” He suggests, “Government of India needs to proactively legislate this to manage unscrupulous elements while ensuring that the new medium of sales is available to all customers”
The negative side
Illegal or unethical pharmacies sometimes send outdated, substituted, or counterfeit medication. The packaging may spoil medicines that require specific temperatures. While many internet pharmacies sell prescription drugs only with a prescription, some do not require a pre-written prescription. In some countries, this is because prescriptions are not required. Some customers order drugs from such pharmacies to avoid the cost and inconvenience of visiting a doctor or to obtain medications their doctors were unwilling to prescribe. Medicines obtained from rogue online pharmacies come with no guarantees with regard to their identity, history and source.
The positive side
Online pharmacies can help one save a lot of money, Often 90% less than what one might pay at one’s local pharmacy. The savings can sometimes mean thousands of dollars a year! For some his could mean the difference between obtaining a prescribed medication and having to go without it. Shopping from a properly credentialed online pharmacy that requires a valid prescription can help one save money on his /her purchase of legal, safe and effective medications. To get prescription drugs safely, make sure the pharmacy is legitimate and if possible, buy from a licensed online pharmacy.