The Impact of Online Pharmacies on the Conventional Drug Distribution System

The PCI aims to safeguard the pharmacy profession and uphold the necessary regulations.

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Picture: Pixabay

Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by The Health Master

Online Pharmacies

The rise of online pharmacies has disrupted the traditional model of regulated drug distribution and supply in the country.

The Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), as the regulator of the pharmacy profession, is taking a stand against this unlawful practice.

Online Pharmacies Affecting Conventional Traders and Manufacturing Industry:

Dr. Montu M Patel, President of the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), expressed concern about the problems caused by online pharmacies not only to conventional traders but also to the manufacturing industry.

He made these remarks while addressing pharmaceutical manufacturers from South India at the Pharmac South Expo held at the Chennai Trade Centre.

PCI’s Serious View on E-Pharmacy Business:

Dr. Patel emphasized that the PCI is closely monitoring the e-pharmacy business and the unethical discount offers associated with it.

Since the sale of medicines falls within the regulated realm, the PCI, with its regulatory authority, has taken up the issue with the Government of India.

The council expects a decision to be made by the central government. According to Dr. Patel, e-pharmacies are blatantly violating rules and regulations by operating without proper control.

Challenges with Online Pharmacies:

Dr. Patel pointed out that each year, approximately five lakh qualified pharmacists graduate from institutions across the country.

These professionals are expected to practice pharmacy within a strict regulatory framework.

In the traditional system, a registered pharmacist is responsible for dispensing drugs to patients. However, in the case of online pharmacies, there is often a lack of transparency regarding the supplier and origin of the drugs.

Dr. Patel also expressed his concerns about the unethical practice of offering discounts, which some corporate sector pharmacies employ to attract customers.

Potential Monopoly and Violation of Rules:

Dr. Patel warned that if the trend continues, online and discount pharmacy groups could gradually dominate the pharmaceutical industry and trade sector by disregarding established rules and regulations.

He believes that these groups pose a threat to the industry as a whole, as they may eventually demand discounts from manufacturers and exercise control over the market.

PCI’s Call for Industry Support:

Dr. Patel appealed to the industry sector to collaborate in strengthening pharmacy education nationwide.

He acknowledged that India is emerging as a leader in pharma formulations, API production, medical devices, and neutraceuticals.

He commended the organizers of the Pharmac South Expo for including neutraceuticals in the fair, demonstrating the industry’s innovation.

Increased Participation in the 2023 Pharmac South Expo:

Compared to previous years, the 2023 Pharmac South Expo witnessed a significant increase in both the number of visitors and exhibitors.

The event showcased 170 stalls from across the country, featuring innovative products and technologies related to pharmaceutical production and marketing.


As online pharmacies continue to disrupt the conventional drug distribution system, the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) is actively working towards addressing this issue.

The PCI aims to safeguard the pharmacy profession and uphold the necessary regulations.

Industry support is crucial in ensuring the quality and integrity of pharmacy education and promoting responsible practices within the pharmaceutical industry.

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