Tue, Mar 28, 2017 | updated 11:19 PM IST

FICCI White Paper calls for comprehensive guidelines for conduct of e-pharmacy business

Updated: Jul 25, 2016 18:19 IST

New Delhi, July 25 (ANI): A white paper on 'e-Pharmacy in India' recommends widespread use of the Internet to overcome the barriers of accessibility and affordability, especially for the elderly in urban areas and those living in villages for removed from healthcare service providers.

The white paper by FICCI underlines the need for formulation of comprehensive guidelines to legitimize the operations of e-pharmacy businesses as consumer's health and safety is of prime importance.

The paper notes that India is experiencing a rapid transition with the rising burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which currently accounts for around 60% of the total deaths. Rapid urbanization, increased motorization, mechanization and sedentary lifestyle, especially among the working age groups, predispose the population to premature NCDs.

Thus, accessibility, affordability and lack of awareness are the major challenges for last mile access to medicines. These barriers could be effectively overcome by adopting technology, specifically the Internet, into the healthcare system.

The factors driving the demand for e-Pharmacy in India include rising number of people with unmet medical needs due to large population and increasing penetration of internet in both urban and rural India. With the rapidly changing consumer behavior in India, there is a huge demand for accessing a wide range of products at the click of a button, and at competitive prices. It is expected that the e-Pharmacy model could account for 5-15% of the total pharma sales in India, largely by enhancing adherence and access to the medicines for a lot of under-served population.

E-Pharmacy improves consumer convenience and access. This will most importantly benefit chronic elderly patients living in nuclear families, and patients who are not in a condition to go out to find a pharmacy. E-Pharmacy also offers competitive pricing which thereby enables less affluent people to afford medicines. There are a lot of technology advancements that are coming up in the form of applications which help in bringing price transparency, create awareness, find an appropriate healthcare service provider, medicine reminders, and pregnancy alerts to the consumers.

In addition, e-Pharmacy models are well aligned to address key known issues in pharmacy retail for tracking authenticity, traceability of medicine, abuse prevention, addressing consumption of drugs without prescription, tax loss and value added services for consumer empowerment in healthcare, which are all key areas of national development. This model also increases entrepreneurship and in turn accelerates wealth creation in the country.

Currently, there is a lot of misunderstanding about e-Pharmacies impacting the traditional brick and mortar pharmacies. In reality, e-Pharmacy model enables the existing traditional pharmacies to cater to a broader set of customers and also ensures that the inventory is consolidated by reducing the requirement for working capital, removing wastage from system and increasing margins, thus making the model sustainable.

The white paper observes that a significant proportion of the population is willing to try purchasing medicine and related products over the internet considering the advantages it has and additional value it creates compared to the existing physical retail outlets. Survey reveals that lower prices, discounts, convenience in ordering and home delivery with preferred time and address are some of the major advantages that will prompt consumers to shift towards e-pharmacy.

There is a positive perception regarding e-pharmacy among medical practitioners as almost 90 percent of respondents perceive it as an acceptable means of sale and purchase of pharmaceutical products. The easy access and convenience factors associated with e-Pharmacies happens to be the major determinants for attracting more and more consumers in the view of medical practitioners as mentioned by 85 percent and 75 percent of the respondents respectively.

Since e-Pharmacy is only technology advancement, it is recommended that it should be allowed and its benefits should be made available to the consumers in India but with sufficient safeguards and under stringent regulatory control to protect the interest of the consumers.

Some of the recommendations for due-diligence of the e-Pharmacy model and making it fool-proof include:

• A separate license and registry of e-Pharmacy players should be created • Dispensation of drugs to be undertaken through the physical pharmacy, duly licensed under Part VI of the Drug Rules

• The dispensation of scheduled drugs should be against a valid prescription from a Registered Medical Practitioner ("Prescription Drugs") and must be undertaken by, or under the direction and personal supervision, of a registered pharmacist

• The e-Pharmacy would be permitted to process the order for prescription drugs only after obtaining (i) the original prescription; (ii) a scanned copy of such original prescription

• Audit trail (including the address and name of the patient) should be digitally stored to prevent abuse and ensure tracking in case there is any adverse event to a medicine

• Narcotic medicines (like morphine) and other habit-forming drugs (like sleeping pills) should be restricted to be sold through an e-Pharmacy model

• Suitable arrangements must be made to ensure that the medicines are packed, transported, and delivered in such a way that their integrity, quality, and effectiveness are preserved.

• The website / mobile application must clearly provide information regarding the logo, license number, and contact details of pharmacists for addressing patients' queries and grievances.

This is the right time for the Government of India to define policies and guidelines for e-Pharmacy and come up with a clear-cut operating model, in line with the concerns of the regulator, while providing benefits to the consumers. (ANI)

New Delhi [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): The Economic Affairs Secretary, Shaktikanta Das on Tuesday set the gross market borrowing for the first six months at Rs 3.71 lakh crore or 64per cent of the full year's target of Rs 5.8 lakh crore.

Full Story >>

Idea launches 4G services in Jammu

Updated: Mar 28, 2017 17:22 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar 28 (ANI): Telecom operator Idea Cellular on Tuesday announced its operations of world class 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir circle.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 28 (ANI-NewsVoir): Pachouli - a leading health, fitness and beauty brand joined hands with India Designer Society to partner for one of its kind fashion reality show "India Kids Fashion Fest."

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 28 (ANI): Given the continuing sluggishness in the key real estate and construction sectors, ICRA expects the overall steel consumption growth for FY2017 to be lower than the previous year levels.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 28 (ANI): In pursuance with the decision of Dr. K M Cherian, Chairman and CEO of Frontier Lifeline Hospital (FLL) and Remigijus Zaliunas, Rector Professor of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU), a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between both the institutions, for promoting and reinforcing cooperation, mutual exchange of views and information, improvement of research and academic programmes and also exchange of experts and researchers.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 28 (ANI-NewsVoir): E. Elumalai, BSc., Student (final year, Perambur Branch, Chennai) of Chennais Amirta International Institute of Hotel Management, brought laurels to the city winning bronze medal in the Culinary Art India 2017 competition. The 12th edition of the national level competition was part of Aahar International Fair held at Pragathi Maidan, New Delhi from 6th to 11th March 2017. It was organized by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) in association with Indian Culinary Forum (ICF).

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 28 (ANI): Capillary Technologies, the leader in cloud-based OmniChannel Engagement and Commerce solutions has partnered with Exclusífe to provide comprehensive CRM solutions to retailers of all sizes in India.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 28 (ANI): Largest telecommunications services provider Bharti Airtel Limited on Tuesday announced the successful completion of the secondary sale of over 190 million shares of its subsidiary Bharti Infratel Limited (Bharti Infratel) representing 10.3 percent, to a consortium of funds advised by KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for a total consideration of over Rs. 6,193.9 crore (approx. USD 951.6 million), executed at a price of Rs. 325 per share.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 28 (ANI): Housing.com has launched a unified platform for real estate developers and partners to manage their business, 'Housing Partner'.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 28 (ANI): India's largest Income Tax returns e-filing and enterprise compliance service provider ClearTax on Tuesday launched its GST e-learning kit to educate the business community and make over 2.5 lakh CAs and Tax Return Preparers GST-ready and help them serve over 1 crore businesses.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 28 (ANI): Digital platform that connects, engages and helps sports audiences interact with each other on a real-time basis, Rooter on Tuesday announced raising of an undisclosed amount of funds from Intex, one of India's fastest growing consumer electronic goods and accessories manufacturer.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 28 (ANI-NewsVoir): As per a National Book Trust NCAER survey in 2009, there were 83 million Indians (13-35 age group) reading books for leisure in 2009. Reading in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and English primarily, 46 percent of the respondents chose "knowledge enhancement" as a reason for reading books.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 28 (ANI-BusinessWireIndia): The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum, in partnership with the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation announces opening of entries for the annual competition Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) India Award2017.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 27 (ANI): Leading financial marketplace Wishfin on Monday announced developments in the company's management team with key new hires to support its expansion.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 27 (ANI): Bank of Baroda, India's leading public sector bank has entered into MOU with Jain Irrigation Systems Limited, with an objective to finance the Micro Irrigation systems i.e. drip and sprinkler irrigation sold by the company through the network of Bank of Baroda branches across the country.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 27 (ANI): The 33rd Edition of India Carpet Expo, Organized by Carpet Export Promotion Council at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi was inaugurated today with lamp lighting by Minister of Textile, Smriti Irani in the august presence of Ajay Tamta, Minister of State for Textiles and Virender Singh, Member of Parliament, Bhadohi.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 27 (ANI): India's top mobile balance management service app True Balance has introduced a welcomed addition of 'One-click Recharge' feature to facilitate easy phone bill payments through its platform.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 27 (ANI): Unveiled at the Milan Men's Fashion Week 2017, the Ducati Diavel Diesel is now available on special order at Ducati dealerships across the country. One of the most successful Ducati models in India, the Diavel has now donned an exquisite avatar, as a result of a creative collaboration between the Ducati Design Center and Andrea Rosso, Diesel Licensing Creative Director.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 27 (ANI): India's leading online recruitment marketplace Aasaanjobs on Monday announced the launch of its unique search and filter feature for job seekers on its platform.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar 27 (ANI-NewsVoir): The fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment is the fourth largest sector in the Indian economy.

Full Story >>