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Pros and Cons: Online Medicine Purchase in India

Pros and Cons Online Medicine Purchase in India

The world has gone through so many changes in recent times. The effect of the current epidemic outburst has made the world much slow and sluggish. Nature’s fury unleashed itself in many ways making the people retire to their home grounds. The result was a paradigm shift in the world worked. The world shrank more and more and got contained in a smaller space- the home. Everything from jobs to education and much more started getting access from home. So does the daily needs, groceries, vegetables, medicines, and gold to diamond. Everything became accessible through the touch of a fingertip.

Online medicine purchase in India has become an inseparable part of our lives. A few years ago, buying medicines during any endemic or epidemic outbreak was a hectic task. Even during COVID times, many people faced difficulty getting the necessary drugs and medical pieces of equipment. But the present scenario has changed drastically, and due to the efforts of government and private organizations, medicines have become easily accessible to people from all walks of life. Buying medicines has become much easier due to the online medicinal revolution. There are many online pharmacies where you can get medication from all medical systems.

How do online pharmacies operate?

Legally running online pharmacies operate as follows:

  • First, the pharmacy gets a license to sell OTC and prescription drugs with permission and a certificate from the state or central governing body.
  • The user can open an account with the online pharmacy by submitting their credentials and other essential information. 
  • The online pharmacies will ask to submit or upload a valid prescription from a registered medical practitioner or a surgeon. 
  • Once the prescription is approved and validated, the pharmacy will send the ordered medicines from their store to the customer’s address or provides a pick-up option from a local medical shop. 
  • The medicines get delivered within three days, or some send them as express delivery overnight.
  • They provide proper addresses and contact details in case of any queries or disputes.

Pros of buying medicines online

Some of the advantages of buying prescription medicines online are:

  • Online purchase of prescription medicines lets people choose medications from various drugs and brands. 
  • Some medicines will not be available in the local area when considering homeopathic and other alternative treatments. But online platforms help to buy such rare homeopathic medicines online in India easily without too many trips and hassles.
  • Buying medicines online is hassle-free, and a person can shop according to their needs and requirements. 
  • People can buy medicines for the safety and privacy of the home or place of stay without going outdoors.
  • There is greater availability of drugs for people who live far from the central part of the town or cities.
  • It makes it easy for a person to compare the prices and brands from various websites to get the best discount and products.
  • It also gives easy access to product information, the compositions, and the side effects of medicine than the storefront medical shops.
  • It provides privacy to the consumers to look for products that would make them uneasy while buying from medical shops.
  • It saves time and energy from walking or driving and waiting in a queue to get the medicines.
  • Ordering online prescription medicines can be done at any time and anywhere, and get them delivered to your exact location since there are tracking options and they operate 24*7. 
  • It helps to buy affordable generic medicines according to a person’s needs and financial status. 
  • Some online pharmacies provide an option to talk or chat with a qualified doctor or pharmacist for better guidance regarding the medications and the medical condition.
  • Some websites allow you to book an appointment with a doctor, send queries or upload the prescription before providing the medicines.
  • Online transaction for buying medicines is also relatively safe because most reputed companies follow proper safety standards to ensure a secure payment process on their websites. 
  • Online pharmacies sell medicines at a discounted price, allowing people to purchase the entire course of medication within their budget. This feature is beneficial for those with limited income. 
  • Even for people who have not used the internet, online shopping provides a user-friendly option, and one doesn’t need any special computer skills to do so. 
  • A person needs basic knowledge of operating computers and the internet. They can search for a reputed online pharmacy to buy medicines. Every website has language options too. So a person can opt for his comfortable language.
  • Various services are provided by such online pharmacies such as queries, and customer care that operate 24*7 to address any problems or concerns. 
  • Online pharmacies also have apps that can be downloaded to mobile phones or computers. This feature provides a person with various options and user-friendly services, etc. 

Also Read How To Find Authentic Homeopathic Medicines Online?

Cons of buying medicines online

As much as online purchase of medicines has become more accessible, cheaper, and convenient, they are also becoming a concern for safety in many ways. Some of the safety concerns regarding the purchase of online medicines are:

  • Many fake unregistered websites sell harmful and banned medicines, and they do not ask for a prescription. Therefore, it is always safe to choose a reputed and well-known website instead of going after websites that entice the customer with low prices and offers.
  • Certain medicines for conditions like erectile dysfunction, libido, weight loss, etc., are sold at cheaper rates without asking for a prescription. However, it might be very harmful to the customers because taking such medications without the advice of a doctor or a prescription may lead to severe emergency conditions. 
  • Sometimes buying medicines from an unregistered website could be harmful because they might be expired, counterfeit, unapproved, illegal, or fake.
  • Some websites just ask a customer to fill out a set of questions before ordering prescription drugs without any audiovisual consultation from a medical person.
  • The addresses of the company given on the website do not match the reality of such websites. 
  • The customers may self-medicate and experiment with different medicines due to easy access. 
  • There is a risk of the wrong medicine being dispatched, and the customer might take the medication without checking the package correctly. 
  • Some websites make false health claims about a faster cure, rapid weight loss, magical hair growth, etc., and sell unauthorized drugs without a prescription. 
  • Every state government has a Drug Authority Department that provides licenses for certain medicines to be sold within a state. Sometimes, a legally valid drug in one Indian state may not be legal in another Indian state.
  • People may use a single prescription multiple times to buy medicines from various online pharmacies, leading to drug abuse in India. 
  • The most crucial issue of all is the selling of drugs to minors. Young people may misuse such an online platform to buy illegal drugs by using another person’s prescription or creating fake accounts. 

Identifying an illegal online pharmacy

Before buying medicines online, it is imperative to know the eligibility and legality of the online pharmacy. Some of the ways to check if the online pharmacy is legal or fake are:

  • Check the license and registration number of the online pharmacy with the regulatory body’s website. Usually, the names of fake online websites are blacklisted on the regulatory board’s website.
  • Check if the online pharmacy asks for a prescription, and if it doesn’t, avoid purchasing medicines from that website.
  • Look out for the reviews and complaints about the online pharmacy where you plan to purchase a medicine. 
  • Do not provide the credit card details without knowing the website’s authenticity.
  • Compare and verify the addresses of the website and the store.
  • Avoid sites that promise and claim a magic cure and quick cures for serious illnesses.
  • Steer clear of sites that include undocumented case histories claiming “amazing” results.
  • Check with your family physician before buying or taking a new medicine.

Also Read Advantages of buying Homeopathic Medicines online

Laws governing the online pharmacies

In some countries, selling medicines through online pharmacies is legal, whereas it is deemed illegal in some other countries. In countries where online pharmacies are permitted, they are governed by the state or central government’s drug regulatory body. The operation of online pharmacies and selling online medicines in India is not illegal. 

Online pharmacies in India are self-regulatory and are governed indirectly by certain acts passed by government regulatory bodies. Online pharmacies in India come under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, of 1940, the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, of 1945, and the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act have set specific guidelines and rules on the sale of Schedule H and Schedule X drugs and their advertisement.

The leading cause of concern for online pharmacies is to follow the rules diligently. According to the legal committee of India, Schedule X drugs should be controlled and not be allowed to dispense by online pharmacies as they can be misused by both the sellers and customers alike. Schedule X drugs include narcotic and psychotropic drugs. Schedule H drugs cannot be sold without a prescription. These rules have been detailed in Part VI of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rule, 1945, which contains the requirements for the ‘Sale of Drugs Other Than Homeopathic Medicines.’ Whereas Schedule K drugs do not need a license, they are non-prescription drugs. There are also specific rules for the labelling and barcoding of drugs.

The Information Technology Act, of 2000 and the E-Pharmacy Draft, of 2018 and the Indian Internet Pharmacies Association (IIPA) also govern certain aspects of online sales of medicines in India. 

Challenges faced by the online pharmacies

Online purchases of medicines might have made our lives much easier, but the online companies themselves face so many issues and legal, and regulatory problems. People easily upload prescriptions on websites, but such prescriptions are questionable most time. In addition, some people use the same prescription on various websites to buy certain medications that are usually not dispensed in such large numbers. 

Some of the other challenges online pharmacies face are logistics, storage, and supply of medicines at an accurate time and temperature during transport. Another major challenge they face is logistics. Recently, online pharmacies have faced various problems from their competitors and other anti-social elements. They have faced severe opposition from their offline competitors and local medical shops. 

What can be done for a smooth transition?

A complete comprehensive solution that can be profitable and helpful for each other to support and grow without harming the customers is needed. An inclusive system or a panel should be formed with the support of doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and consumers, along with secure technology and legal framework.  

Online pharmacies must abide by the governing laws and sell authorized medicines, and the customers should use genuine prescriptions. To prevent overuse or misuse of drugs, the prescription can be given out in a digitalized format.  

The online medicinal platforms must have a proper supportive team, including a doctor and a pharmacist, to ensure the authenticity of the prescription and respond to the customers’ queries.  


Online medicines have made life less stressful with easy access to health services. Like any other online shopping platform, online pharmacies are also here to stay for a long time. Yes, online pharmacies should respect government rules and regulations and abide by the law. Still, it is in the customer’s control not to misuse or get enticed by the fantastic offers of fake websites. Choosing well-reputed online pharmacy websites is vital for a smooth and problem-free purchase.

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