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Maharashtra cracks down on Snapdeal, others for online drug sales

18 April 2015

Maharashtra's Food & Drug Administration on Friday cracked down on e-commerce firm for selling prescription drugs online. It has asked the company to immediately stop selling prescription drugs and delist such drugs from the website.

Moreover, state FDA officials will visit the offices of Snapdeal rivals Flipkart and US-based Amazon to check whether similar sales are  also being made by them. Flipkart and Amazon have been asked to furnish full details of any such products sold by them.

FDA commissioner Harshadeep Kamble, who ordered his team to search the Snapdeal office in north Mumbai on Thursday, said, ''By the Section 18 (c) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, to be read with Rule 65, only a licensed retailer is entitled to sell drugs, and that too only on a prescription. The FDA team raided the Snapdeal premises after the receipt of information that various drugs, including the prescription drugs, were being offered for sale and sold through The specific information was with regard to the sale of Ascoril cough syrup and Vigora tablets.''

Rule 65 speaks of the procedure to be adopted by medical stores while selling prescription drugs. Under the rule, prescription from the registered medical practitioner is necessary for the sale of schedule H drugs.

Kamble said the company was asked to furnish the details of persons involved, medical stores, companies involved and their respective documents, including agreements, challans, invoices and payment details.

He said Snapdeal agreed to delist prescription drugs offered on its website.

''Such online sale of drugs is not allowed under the Act. Such kind of self-medication may be harmful for the patients. Snapdeal-like agencies cannot act like the doctor or the pharmacist.'' According to Kamble, the FDA, through such actions, wants to curb the menace of internet-based sale of drugs, which are harmful to patients.

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