The Maharashtra Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) has cracked down on major e-commerce websites like Snapdeal selling prescription drugs online, a top official said on Friday.
Its sleuths raided Snapdeal's offices in Goregaon, north-west Mumbai, after a specific tip-off was received that prescription drugs like Ascoril cough syrup, Vigora tablets, and other medicines were being sold online, FDA Commissioner Harshadeep Kamble said.
The FDA has also ordered a search of Snapdeal.com's offices and godowns in this connection.
However, Snapdeal.com on Friday evening denied that any such restricted products were found on their fufillment centre by the FDA team. But it assured help to the FDA sleuths in their investigations.
"Though we periodically educate sellers on engaging in fair and safe sales on the platform and consequences of selling inappropriate products, at times sellers end up listing such products. Upon being notified of any such products, we delist the products and take appropriate action against such seller. In this case, upon receiving the notice, we have delisted the products and provided all information to the FDA team," an official spokesperson of Snapdeal.com told IANS.
Besides, Kamble said, the FDA will investigate Flipkart.com and Amazon.com offices to ascertain whether they are also indulging in such activities and has sought details from them in this regard.
The action against Snapdeal.com was initiated under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 Sec. 18 (C), read with Rule 65, stipulating that only a licensed retailer can sell drugs and that too on the basis of a doctor's prescription.
Rule 65 also prescribes the relevant procedures to be adopted by pharmacy stores while selling prescription drugs, especially Schedule H drugs under the Act.
Snapdeal.com is accused of selling various drugs, including those requiring a doctor's prescription, and violating norms.
"Such type of online sale of drugs is not allowed as per the Act. Such kind of self-medication may be harmful to the patients. Snapdeal.com like agencies cannot act like doctor or pharmacist.
"Through such vigilant actions, the FDA is trying to control the menace of Internet-based sale of drugs which could be harmful to the patients," Kamble said in a statement.
The official said Snapdeal.com has been asked to provide details of the people involved, medical stores, companies, their respective documents including agreements, challans, invoices, payment details etc.
The FDA has directed Snapdeal.com to immediately withdraw offers for sale and exhibition of such drugs from its e-commerce sites and delist them, which the company has agreed to comply with.