Amid a nationwide strike of chemists on Wednesday against 'illegal' online sale of medicines, private players in the e-pharmacy space have come together to form an association.
"The Indian Internet Pharmacy Association (IIPA) officially formed with the mission to promote and protect the public health by ensuring that its members operate in accordance with the existing Drugs & Cosmetics Rules... of Information Technology Act, 2008, and Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015," IIPA said in a statement.
With growing penetration and awareness of e-commerce companies enabling retailing of medicines and healthcare products, IIPA wants to make sure that its members adhere to the rules governing pharmacies and the dispensing of prescription medications.
IIPA will cater to public's demand for safe and easily accessible medicines at affordable prices. It also aims to be at the forefront to fulfil the Prime Minister's vision for a Digital India, it added.
The association claimed that it brings together some of the most credible and successful companies from both the pharma and e-commerce industry.
The current 11 member list includes Bookmeds, mChemist, Medidart, Medlife, Medstar, Netmeds, Pharmeasy, Zigy.com (PM Health & Life Care), SaveOnMedicals, Savemymeds and 1mg.com. It would ensure that partners operate in the interests of the public, and would therefore, be extremely selective in its screening process and would only allow 'the best of the best' to earn the association's approval.
The main goal of this association is to ensure its members operate in harmony with the requirements of the consumers and the regulator, keep fly-by-night operators out of the business and to bring the 'best of the West', where online pharmacies are fairly mature, to India, IIPA president Prashant Tandon said.
"Our members are the industry's top players with credible experience. We are committed to working with the regulators to ensure that India has an exemplary model for e-pharmacy. "We welcome and applaud the regulators' announcement that they are on a path to draft guidelines to regulate the new model," IIPA General Secretary Kiran Divakaran said.