Indian drug authorities filed criminal case against Amazon for supplying abortion pills online

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Amazon, the US e-commerce and cloud computing giant is said to hire 1,000 people in Poland. The company already hires almost 5,000 people in Poland and has service centers in Gdansk, Wroclaw and Poznan ON 14 April 2016. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

MUMBAI, June 10 (Xinhua) — A first information report (FIR) was filed for online sale and supply of medical terminal of pregnancy (MTP) pills against online retailer Amazon and supplier from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh by the Indian drug regulator in the country’s western state of Maharashtra, an official told Xinhua on Monday.

As per the prevailing law, online buying and selling of medicine is illegal. However, to check the factual scenario, Kailash Tandale, President of Maharashtra Registered Pharmacist Association had ordered MTP pills online. On receiving the same, he brought it to the notice of the Food and Drug Administration of Maharashtra.

“The abortion pills were ordered by me without prescription of a gynecologist to gauge whether it was available online or was a mere hearsay,” Tandale said

Confirming the filing of FIR, Mukund Donglikar, Drug Controller, Food and Drug Administration in Raigad district of Maharashtra said, “Based on the complaint made by Tandale, we have filed a FIR against Amazon and the medical store from Uttar Pradesh at the Kamothe Police station in Navi Mumbai. Since, our jurisdiction is restricted to the state, the police will investigate the case further.”

Health is a state subject in India and hence each state has a separate Food and Drug Administration.

In August 2018, the Indian government had released the draft rules to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to facilitate online sales of medicines and had planned to roll the rules in the first 100 days of its second term.

As per the proposed draft, only government-registered e-portals can sell medicines, and must retain prescriptions and verify details of patients and doctors.

The proposed law will legitimize and put online retailer and a brick-and-mortar pharmacy outlet on equal footing, which has strongly been opposed by Maharashtra Registered Pharmacist Association.