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Online medicines sale: FDA orders FIR against Snapdeal CEO

Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday that it had ordered an FIR to be filed against the CEO and the directors of Internet shopping company Snapdeal for allegedly selling prescription drugs online.

“We have ordered filing an FIR against the CEO, Kunal Bahl, and the directors of the company,” Harshadeep Kamble, FDA Commissioner, said.

Following complaints against the company, FDA officers, posing as customers, ordered from the website medicines which needed a prescription and could be sold only by a licensed pharmacist.

After they were caught in the act, the godowns of the company were raided. The company then agreed to take down the drugs offered on the website.

The investigation found that Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd. entered into agreements with dealers across India to supply medicines offered or exhibited for sale on its website, snapdeal.com, and to collect the sale proceeds on their behalf.

The FDA found that 45 of the displayed drugs were with objectionable claims which contravened the provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.

Mr. Kamble said selling of drugs without prescription contravened Section 18 (c) 18 A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

The FDA will be investigating other online shopping companies such as Flipkart and Amazon.

‘We are cooperating with FDA’

The company said in a statement: “Snapdeal.com is an online marketplace which connects buyers and sellers to provide the widest assortment of products. The sellers selling online are retailers and distributors, small and medium businesses and large brands which typically sell offline too. Snapdeal acts as an intermediary between the seller and buyer of the products listed on the platform. Though we periodically educate sellers on engaging in fair and safe sales on the platform and consequences of selling inappropriate products, at times sellers end up listing such products. Upon being notified of any such products, we delist the products and take appropriate action against such seller.”

“In this matter, we are assisting the FDA team in this investigation and we will continue to do so. We have already delisted the products and also stopped payment, in addition to providing all information to the FDA team as required by them,” the statement said.
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