Chennai, Nov 1 (PTI) The Madras High Court Thursday clarified that its order restraining online sale of medicines will only apply to firms which do not have valid licences.

Justice R Mahadevan, who Wednesday issued the interim order against online sales on a petition by the Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association, gave the clarification when traders having licences approached the court seeking to vacate the stay.

The judge directed the traders to file their petitions and agreed to hear them Friday.

He had given the interim order restraining online sale of medicines on a petition by the association which contended that purchasing medicines from unlicensed online stores can be risky as they may sell fake, expired, contaminated or unapproved drugs that are dangerous to the health of patients.

Counsels representing the traders explained that medicines ordered online were sourced from licensed pharmacies and they were only delivering them to the customers.

Denying the contentions of the chemists and druggists association, TNMEDS, one of the online traders, submitted that the present plea was nothing but an outcome of a gross misconception about the working of online sale of medicines.

TNMEDS has obtained a valid drug licence from the Assistant Director of Drugs Control and also complied with all the existing rules and regulations of the government in relation to sale of medicines, counsel for the firm said.

Besides, people supplying medicines through online mode were presently regulated by the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, the Pharmacy Act, 1948 and the Information Technology Act, 2000 in addition to several other legislations in force.

Noting that such sales were carried out in a completely regulated manner, TNMEDS submitted that the consumers were also required to upload the prescriptions and the entire process was supervised by a registered pharmacist as per the rules.

Most of the online sale was carried out only by sourcing the medicines from registered pharmacists.

In the case of TNMEDS, it has been provided with a valid licence to sell, stock or exhibit or distribute drugs by retail.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.