Madras HC reserves order on pleas seeking stay on banning online sale of medicines; suspends ban for now
The Madras High Court Thursday reserved its verdict on miscellaneous petitions seeking to stay a single judge bench's order banning the online sale of medicines.
Chennai: The Madras High Court Thursday reserved its verdict on miscellaneous petitions seeking to stay a single judge bench's order banning the online sale of medicines.
Admitting a batch of appeals from Netmeds Marketplace Ltd and others challenging the 17 December order, a bench comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice P Rajamanickam also agreed to extend its suspension till the orders were pronounced on the interim plea for stay.
Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana had in his order banned the online sale of medicines till the Union Health Ministry and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation notified the proposed Drugs and Cosmetics Amendment Rules, 2018 in the gazette at the earliest by 31 January.
He had also directed the e-pharmacies to obtain licenses as per prescribed rules that were going to be notified within a duration of two months. Accepting a request by the counsel for online traders, the judge had directed the authorities concerned not to give effect to his order till 20 December.
He had passed the judgment on a petition moved by the Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Organisation (TNCDO) seeking a ban on e-pharmacies. Challenging this order, the companies filed the appeals.
During the hearing of the appeals, a battery of senior counsels appearing for the online traders submitted that a bench headed by then Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had on 20 December, 2016 disposed of a petition by the TNCDO and declined to interfere with the sale of online medicines.
There was no change of circumstances thereafter, except the draft rules. While so, the association had again filed a the petition with the same prayer now. The single judge ought not to have entertained the petition as the matter was already adjudicated by a competent court, the appellants contended.
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Online sales of medicines, also known as e-pharmacies, are currently not regulated and their existence is constantly met with opposition from brick and mortar chemists