The Delhi High Court has issued an all-India ban on the online sale of medicines. The judgement comes a day after the Madras High Court reserved its verdict after the final hearing in a similar case. Earlier in October, the Madras High Court had also issued a country-wide interim stay order on online pharmacies.
The Delhi High Court order was issued (December 12, 2018) by a division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar Rao. The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Dr Zaheer Ahmed.
Currently, India has over 850,000 independent pharmacy retail stores that are able to meet only 60% of the total domestic therapeutic demand. These traditional brick and mortar retail pharmacies are currently responsible for 99% of the pharmaceutical sales annually with online pharmacy contributing to only 1% of the total therapeutic sales, according to an Indian epharmacy market report
However, the Court, in its Wednesday hearing, didn’t go into the detailing. Passing the order, it noted (purportedly) that the online sale itself is illegal as it’s not in accordance with the Act.