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61% of people prefer buying drugs online

NEW DELHI: Around 61 per cent of people prefer to buy medicines online, a survey has showed, highlighting a major change in consumer trend, even as the battle between offline and online chemists has intensified, Over 8 lakh chemists recently threatened to go on indefinite strike if the government failed to regulate online sales.

The survey, conducted by Consumer Online Foundation and market research firm BRIEF (Bureau of Research on Industry and Economic Fundamentals), also showed that 50 per cent of people admitted buying medicines from a chemist without prescription and 36 per cent had never received any bill. .

The foundation said the government needed to tighten regulation for not only online sales but also at brick and mortar stores. “A new law should be brought to re place the archaic Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and it should focus on the patients’ safety and accessibility to quality healthcare,” Consumer Online Foundation founder Bejon Misra said. Misra said the foundation had approached health ministry and other departments on the issue.

Though chemists have raised concerns about the sale of prescription medicines illegally online and the risk of misuse of drugs, many feel if web-based platforms are allowed with proper checks, it can solve the above problems. For example, for any purchase, a bill will be automatically generated along with details like expiry date, etc. Moreover, patients may also be asked to upload prescriptions which will help in detecting disease trends specific to areas.

However, those opposing the e-pharmacies say the government has no mechanism to keep a check on something as wide as online space and sale of a wrong medicine can even result in the loss of life.

According to Misra, there has been a rise in sale of medicines without prescriptions and proper records through offline channels.”Online pharmacies provide better alternative to offline pharmacies as they are not only more compliant to the law, but also provide a host of other benefits,” Misra added. He said the government must take concrete steps to “regulate safe and secure purchase of medicines” through all channels.
Source: times of India

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Media Coverage on buying drugs online

Economic TimesBrick-and-mortar pharmacies selling medicines without demanding prescription: Study
Times Of India61% of people prefer buying drugs online
The Times Of India CityRegulate sales of medicines via all channels: Consumer body
Economic Times Health61% of people prefer buying drugs online’
DNAConsumer right activists write to health minister, say patients prefer online pharmacies
Business Standard90 per cent people show interest in online pharmacies: Survey
Hindustan TimesOnline sales of medicines boom in absence of regulations
India TodayRegulate sales of medicines via all channels : Consumer Body
Deccan HeraldSurvey shows elders prefer e-pharmacy
Punjab Tribune90 per cent people show interest in online pharmacies: Survey
Rashtriya Sahara90 per cent people show interest in online pharmacies: Survey