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Will you stop online sale of drugs? HC asks Government

In the wake of reports that college students were taking abortion pills, the Bombay High Court asked Maharashtra Government to inform what steps it would take to stop the online sale of drugs dispensed without a proper doctor’s prescription.

Under the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945, drugs prescribed in Schedule H cannot be sold without a doctor’s prescription.

Such drugs include anti-pregnancy pills, sleeping tablets and abortion pills, according to a petition seeking a ban on online sale of these medicines dispensed without a doctor’s prescription.

A bench of Justice Naresh Patil and S B Shukare asked the State to seek instructions and inform tomorrow what steps would it take in this regard.

The petitioner, Mayuri Patil, is a lecturer in S K Somaiya college who told the court that college students were misuing the law and buying drugs with a fake doctor’s prescription.

Citing an instance, she said that one of her students had absented herself from the classes for quite some time.

Later, she learnt that the student had become pregnant and had taken abortion pills given in Schedule H of the Act through online purchase by submitting a fake prescription of a doctor.

In order to detect such fraud practice, the Court had advised the petitioner to get the same medicine through online purchase by using a fake prescription of a doctor and place the tablets before it.

Accordingly, the exercise was undertaken by the petitioner who placed the drugs before the court today to demonstrate that medicines can be bought with a fake doctor’s prescription.

The court raised a query from the petitioner as to how the drugs were supplied in an online purchase. To this, the petitioner replied that it was through a courier service.

The court then told the State Government that just as currency notes and narcotics substances were banned in a courier service, the drugs prescribed under schedule H should also be prohibited from being supplied through a courier.

The petitioner contended that online sale of banned drugs could be misused by teenagers as was done in this case.

The State Government would inform the HC tomorrow what steps it had planned to stop sale of such drugs without a proper doctor’s prescription.

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