The Central government on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that a proposal for framing rules to regulate e-pharmacies was under consideration and some more time was needed.
The Centre's response came after a division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad asked it to file a status report on petitions seeking a ban on illegal sale of drugs online.
"A proposal for framing rules to regulate e-pharmacies was under consideration and some more time was needed," the Centre's counsel told the court.
However, the petitioner's lawyer contended that the rules are being framed for the last 5-6 years but nothing concrete has been done yet.
The court listed the matter for the next hearing on May 22.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare draft rules were challenged in the plea to further amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules.
The Ministry's August 2018 notification was challenged by the South Chemists and Distributors Association in a petition saying that ignoring the health hazards caused due to online sale of medicines without proper regulations, the draft rules are being pushed through in serious violation of the law.
The petition has sought contempt action against the e-pharmacies for continuing to sell drugs online despite a high court order staying such activity and contempt action against the Central government for allegedly not taking any step against the defaulting e-pharmacies.
On December 12, 2018, the Delhi High Court had stayed the online sale of drugs without licence by pharmacies while hearing petitioner Zaheer Ahmed's PIL.20230315-192204