Abortion drugs freely sold online, pharmaceutical body says | India News

NAGPUR: The Maharashtra Registered Pharmacists Association (MRPA) has claimed that many online shopping portals are openly selling drugs scheduled for termination of pregnancy without prescription.
To prove it, MRPA members across the state ordered the pregnancy termination drugs from a famous shopping website. Members from Mumbai and Pune received their orders in the last three days while a member from Nagpur received them on Monday. None of these buyers were asked for a prescription from a licensed obstetrician or gynecologist, which is essential to buy these drugs. Plus, they got over 20% off its printed price.
MRPA Chairman Kailash Tandale claimed that the international online retail company had already halted sales after learning about the MRPA campaign.
“MRPA members have receipts as well as the drugs we received from the procurement website. However, the website took the hint and stopped selling this drug effective June 2,” Tandale said.
While a leading website has stopped selling, some smaller websites and online pharmacies are still selling it. While most of them insist on free user pre-registration, only a few of them ask to upload the prescription and submit proof of age.
Selling abortion pills without a prescription and without proof of age is illegal and a punishable offense under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTPA).
However, there are no specific regulations on the online sale of these drugs. FDA authorities seem powerless as the government has yet to adopt the policy proposed by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) to regulate this sale.
A senior FDA Nagpur official told TOI that the Maharashtra FDA has shut down 50-55 portals that illegally sell non-prescription drugs in the past two years. “But websites can be relaunched in minutes with a changed IP address. Also, these drugs are supplied by other states,” he said.
In fact, the drugs ordered by the MRPA members came from a private drug supplier based in Dibai town of Bulandshahar district in UP. TOI tried to contact the Maharashtra website office, from where the MRPA members ordered the drugs. However, the official declined to comment before consulting with their national leader.
“We connect buyers to sellers through our website. All wholesalers attached to us are registered and legal establishments. As for this drug, it is also available in medical stores,” said the official, who declined to be named.
Doctors said the problem was very concerning. “Taking such pills without the advice of a doctor can lead to major complications and can be fatal in some cases. It is best to consult a gynecologist, as a legal termination option is available.
The MTPA in India is a liberal law and guarantees complete privacy and freedom to women,” said Dr. Laxmi Shrikhande, Former Senior Vice President, Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology Societies of India (FOGSI) .
Read this report in Bengali
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