By Sanjay Kumar Negi, Marketing Manager, Akosha.

Have you ever tried to buy medicines from an e-commerce portal?

If yes, then those drugs may not available anymore on that site.

Why so?

The most probable reason could be that the portal may have violated the terms set by the ‘Food and Drug Administration’ authorities and is forced to remove those products from the inventory.

A real-life example could be FDA’s filing FIR and the subsequent raid at the Snapdeal premises in Maharashtra. This incident happened in May, 2015 when FDA took action against the portal for selling banned drugs.

In addition, police received an email complaint against four e-commerce sites including Flipkart for advertising and selling objectionable products illegitimately. Consequently, Flipkart has removed all the items that were categorised under ‘Sexual Wellness’. Even though police did not take any action, this move by the portal has been taken as a precautionary measure.

Why FDA Issues Warning?

A simple answer to this question is non-compliance with the regulations.

FDA has designed guidance, compliance and regulatory information for organisations to maintain product quality and consumer safety.

There are many unethical practices go on in various industries such as food and drugs manufacturing, which could pose serious health hazards for consumers. Hence, FDA needs to stay on alert to weed out the malpractices and streamline the process.

In March, 2015, leading newspapers in India published that FDA seized a consignment of scheduled drugs that were to be distributed among quacks and unregistered chemists in Haryana and Delhi. The consignment had 165 bottles of cough syrup, 32 pregnancy termination kits and 22 other types of drugs.

What if a Company Continues with its Illegal Practices?

Such incidents show the darker side of foods and drugs business where millions of lives depend on these consumer products. Thus crackdowns on the illegal practices have become an integral part of FDA’s work process.

In case of registered foods and drugs companies, FDA initially issues a warning letter to the relevant firms asking them to refrain from advertising any product that contains banned substances and may cause serious health issues among consumers. If required, FDA warns companies not to use misleading promotional material that overstates any fact related to a specific product.

Despite issuing the warning letter, if a concerned company continues with the same practices, FDA can take legal action including sealing the company’s manufacturing unit.

Malpractices on foods and drug products are happening even at the grass-root level such as selling unhygienic foods at interstate bus stands or train stations. FDA is conducting raids at these places across the country to stop selling such food items.

Have you ever suffered due to illegal practices on foods and drugs by any individual seller or a company? Let us know. We can help you register a complaint by following a proper legal procedure.