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Police stop medicine delivery scheme after portal faces legal hurdle

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The Maharashtra police have discontinued their scheme of providing medicines at discounted rates to their personnel after the online portal through which the scheme was facilitated, ran into trouble with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The initiative was launched in February after the State police force tied up with PharmEasy, a portal that delivers medicines at the customers’ doorstep. Under the scheme, serving as well as retired police personnel could install the PharmEasy app on their cellphones, upload a valid prescription, and then get medicines delivered to their residences at a 25-per cent discount.

FDA officials said they had issued a notice to PharmEasy a month ago, after the agency launched a crackdown on the sale of prescription drugs through online portals, as such sales are banned under current rules.

“We have cancelled the licences of two of the three medical stores that were providing medicines to PharmEasy for its customers. An application seeking an FIR against one of these has also been submitted to the Mumbai Police,” said B. R. Masal, Joint Commissioner, FDA.

Maharashtra police officials said that after the notice was issued, the matter was discussed at a meeting between Director General of Police Praveen Dixit and senior officials late last month. “At the meeting, it was decided to discontinue the service as it would not be prudent to have a tie-up with a service provider that has run into legal trouble. Other options are now being explored to provide medicines at affordable rates,” said a senior officer with the Maharashtra police.

Mr. Dixit could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Masal said the action against more such portals is also being taken. “There are no set rules and regulations on online sale of medicines and a committee is currently looking into this. It will soon be submitting its report to the State government. Meanwhile, we are continuing our crackdown as such portals do not come under our regulations and it becomes next to impossible to pinpoint any misconduct on their part.”

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 5:59:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/Police-stop-medicine-delivery-scheme-after-portal-faces-legal-hurdle/article14424935.ece

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