The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, a representative body of 20 research based pharmaceutical companies in the country, expressing concern over the Union health ministry's recent notification on regulation of sale of drugs in the country through an e-portal, has urged the government to take industry into confidence in the entire process.
The Union health ministry on March 16 this year had issued a notification proposing to set up an e-portal wherein all manufacturers, stockists and retailers are required to register themselves and enter data relating to sale of drugs with batch number, quantity and expiry date through both online and by using mobile phones.
“This is a very ambitious project. It requires meticulous planning and diligent execution. Moreover, the companies will have to assure that the electronic system has adequate security against hacking of commercially sensitive data. All that we know is a notification inviting public comments on the proposed platform,” said DG Shah, secretary general of Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance.
In order to succeed, it is important that the regulators win over industry's confidence, explain the purpose and benefits of the proposed scheme, explain salient features and give enough time for the industry to reflect, absorb and accept the system. Unfortunately, what should have been done long ago, the government is now doing it in a hurry and without stakeholder involvement. It is also important to share with industry and trade what is it that the government is trying to achieve and if this is the best way of doing so, added Shah.
Meanwhile, the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) has welcomed the government's efforts to bring in regulations in respect of sale of drugs in India including those sold online. Such an initiative will complement the government's Digital India focus and will undoubtedly be a step towards establishing an e-enabled robust and transparent regulatory structure in which the supply chain has registered and licensed pharmacists, the OPPI stated.