Archive for ◊ April, 2015 ◊

• Tuesday, April 07th, 2015

Digital India, Online Pharmacies And Healthcare Laws In IndiaDigital India is the pet project of Narendra Modi government and it has high hopes with the same. However, Digital India is suffering from many shortcomings and this is making the entire project vulnerable to judicial interventions. Just like the Supreme Court of India had to interfere in the Aadhaar and section 66A cases, the Supreme Court of India may also have to interfere with the implementation of Digital India project.

The biggest problem with the Digital India project is that it lacks a clear cut policy and implementation plan. There is neither a legal framework nor a parliamentary oversight of the Digital India project. India is also notoriously infamous for its e-surveillance activities and violation of civil liberties in cyberspace. There are no dedicated privacy and data protection laws (PDF) in India as well. In short, there is no transparency, accountability and legal recourse available against the misdeeds and wrongs committed by Indian government and its agencies while implementing the Digital India project.

While these conditions are not at all acceptable in other nations yet this is just ignored in India by Indian citizens except by few privacy loving citizens. Take the example of healthcare laws of India that are simply outdated, irrelevant and ill suited to meet the objective of Digital India. Fields like e-health, m-health, telemedicine, etc require dedicated techno legal framework that is missing in India. As a result, healthcare industry and healthcare entrepreneurs of India are presently acting more on the side of violation than compliances.

Another area of concern pertains to unauthorised and illegal operation of online pharmacies in India. As on date, there are very complicated sets of legal requirements for establishing online pharmacies in India and for online sale of prescribed medicines in India. We have no dedicated laws for opening of online pharmacy stores in India but different laws of India govern different legal aspects of the same. There are numerous legal risks associated with online selling of medicines in India and all online pharmacies that intend to operate in India mist strictly follow various regulatory provision related to this field. As on date online pharmacies in India are violating various applicable laws of this field.

Digital India intends to give a boost to use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for public delivery of services. However, we at Perry4Law Law Firm believe that use of ICT for healthcare industry and services in India without appropriate regulatory environment would be counterproductive in the long run. It is in the interest of patients, hospitals and healthcare service providers that a techno legal framework must be established by Indian government as soon as possible. The process of constituting the National E-Health Authority (NeHA) of India is the correct approach to embrace Digital India project. We expect more such initiatives on the part of Indian government in near future.

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