High Court grants Centre 8 weeks for online medicine sales policy


The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted 8 weeks’ time to the Centre as a last opportunity to frame a policy on the online sale of medicines, saying that the issue has been lingering on for a long time and the government must expedite the process.
The court stated that if the policy is not framed within the stipulated time period, the joint secretary concerned with dealing with the issue shall be personally present before the court on March 4, 2024, the next date of hearing.
“This court is of the view that, as more than 5 years have lapsed, the Union of India has had sufficient time to frame the policy. In the interest of justice, one last opportunity is granted to the Union of India to form the policy within 8 weeks.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna stated, “In the event the policy is not framed within the stipulated time period, the joint secretary dealing with the subject shall be personally present on the next date.”
Earlier, the high court asked the Centre to file a status report on petitions seeking a ban on the “illegal” sale of drugs online.
The court heard the petitions seeking a ban on such sales and challenging the draft rules published by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to further amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules. Challenging the August 2018 notification, the petitioner body, the South Chemists and Distributors Association, represented by advocate Amit Gupta, stated that the draft rules are being pushed through in “serious violation” of the law, ignoring the health hazards caused by the sale of medicines online without proper regulations. Petitioner Zaheer Ahmed, represented by advocate Nakul Mohta, sought contempt action against the e-pharmacies for continuing to sell drugs online despite a HCorder against such activity.