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Offline pharmacies to deliver medicines at people’s doorsteps

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Notification mentions that licensee can sell such drugs subject on condition that any such sale of drug specified in Schedule H shall be based on receipt of prescription physically or through e-mail

To ensure an undeterred supply of medicines in the country during the nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of a novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) through community transmission, the Government of India has allowed offline pharmacy stores to deliver medicines at people’s doorsteps, adhering the issued norms in the notification.

A notification published by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informs that the Central Government has permitted pharmacies having a license in Form-20 or Form-21 under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945, to sell/stock or exhibit or offer for sale, or distribute drugs by retail, intending to sell any drug including the drugs specified in Schedule H except narcotics, psychotropics and controlled substances as defined in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (61 of 1985) and the drugs as specified in Schedule H1 and Schedule X to the said rules, by retail with doorstep delivery of the drug, medicines at people’s doorsteps.

The notification clearly mentions that the licensee can sell such drugs subject on the condition that any such sale of a drug specified in Schedule H shall be based on receipt of prescription physically or through e-mail.

The objective of this move by the government is also to regulate the sale and distribution of drugs for their delivery to the consumers.

JS Shinde, President, All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggist said, “We have been asked to keep our registered pharmacy stores open 24X7 and ensure availability of all essential medicines. With this notification, drugs shall be supplied at the doorstep of the patients located within the same revenue district where the licensee is located.”

He also informed that this is the temporary move initiated by the government due to Covid-19 and can be withdrawn anytime later.

Rajesh Gupta, All India Head-Pharma, Laghu Udyog Bharti feels this is a good move by the government and said, “We are supporting the government’s each and every move during the pandemic situation of Covid-19 in the country because it is facilitating and ensuring a seamless supply of medicines amid the nationwide lockdown.”

He also emphasised that, to avoid misuse of Schedule H1 and Schedule X they have issued proper guidelines. Because in another platform, the same prescription can be loaded to multiple channels and chances of misuse of those medicines would be much higher.

The notification significantly points out that in case of chronic diseases, the prescription shall be dispensed only if it is presented to the licensee within 30 days of its issue and in acute cases, the prescription shall be dispensed only if it is presented to licensee within seven days of its issue. The bill or cash memo shall be sent by the return email and records of all such transactions shall be maintained by the licensee.

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