E-commerce Offering Easy Access To Pharma Drugs

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jul 11, 2016


The fast growing e-commerce industry in India has escalate easy availability of online pharmacies, which leads to easy availability of pharmaceutical drugs and their abuses as the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) says in their annual report 2015.

Abuse of pharmaceutical drugs in India has assumed serious proportions in recent times and the problem is kind of more serious in the northeast and northwest region of the country.

“The emergence of illegal websites (Internet Pharmacy) established in the USA, Europe etc. offering unregulated trade in a range of prescription medicines over the Internet has taken firm root in India as a supplier.

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“These online pharmacies transmit orders from paying customers to agents in India, who then procure the medicines from either legitimate or illegitimate sources before dispatching them to customers by mail and courier,” the NCB says.

It also reviews patterns and trends relating to consumption, as well as information provided by Member States on the policies and practices at the country level for ensuring the availability of these controlled substances, and the impediments thereto.

The sheer volume of international post makes it impossible to screen every parcel and hence a vast majority of illegal consignments passes by undetected by the authorities.

“Internet pharmacies are usually highly vulnerable and keep the identity of organisers tightly veiled. In India, nevertheless, the NCB either on its own or in coordination with the outside agencies has been making at least one bust every year over the years,” the report says.

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The pharmaceutical products that are abused include buprenorphine, codeine-based cough syrups, alprazolam, diazepam and other sedatives.Many of these pharmaceutical drugs are easily available over the counter and this has become the major factor that encourages their misuse, the NCB says.

There is also the perception that these pharmaceutical drugs are less harmful than hard drugs like heroin, cocaine etc.

“However, this is a misconception, since these can be addictive and also have a debilitating effect on health. Pharmaceutical preparations having narcotic/psychotropic substances are under the purview of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act and the NDPS Act in India,” it says as reported  by TOI.

Most narcotic drugs and a large number of psychotropic substances controlled under the international treaties are indispensable in medical practice. Simplified control measures are in place for the provision of internationally controlled medicines for emergency medical care. Competent national authorities may allow the export of internationally controlled substances to affected countries even in the absence of import authorizations or estimated requirements.