To buy or not to buy online
On October 14, chemists all over India pulled down their shutters for a day to protest the online sale of drugs. Approximately 18,000 stores participated in the nationwide strike that was called by the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD).
For the uninitiated, the protest was held against the government’s move to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. The amendments will enable the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to put in place a proper system and regulations for the online sale of drugs. However, experts aren’t entirely convinced of the advantages of the system.
Dr Apratim Goel, dermatologist and laser surgeon, Cutis Skin Studio, is “personally” in favour of the digital age, but adds that it is imperative that the regulatory conditions put in place are strict. “E-pharmacies are not a bad idea, provided, they are managed well. It is proven to be a successful model in North America and Europe,” she says, adding, “In a country like India, where the regulatory systems and infrastructure are usually poor, there could be lots of cons to this wonderful system if it is not strictly regulated.”
Dr Soma Sarkar, cosmetic dermatologist, About Face, opines, “When drugs are available online, they can be misused. Even something as basic as a cough syrup, when consumed in higher doses, can be dangerous. I’m especially apprehensive about the college-going crowd that always is on the lookout for faster and easier ways to resolve small health issues.”
Pros of online pharmacies
It is simple, convenient and private.
The doorstep delivery of medicines bought online saves time.
It is useful for differently abled patients and the elderly, as they, then, do not need to depend on family members to buy their medicines.
Online pharmacy drugs can also be available for cheaper rates, due to the various discounts.
Cons of online pharmacies
There are high chances of drugs being mixed due to delivery errors.
In the online delivery of drugs, there are no instructions about their
If the government does not demand the competent regulation of these sites, one might end up buying substituted, counterfeit and outdated drugs.
It can increase self-medication or drug abuse, resulting in serious health issues.