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The government has tightened the noose around e-commerce portals like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal for selling medicines without valid sales bill and requisite licences.

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Maharashtra has taken regulatory action against Snapdeal, Amazon and Flipkart, which were found to be selling and distributing medicines to consumers through Internet without valid sales bill and requisite licences," Union Health Minister JP Nadda said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha Friday.

He said chemists and druggist associations made a number of representations against online sale of prescription drugs. "We also received representations asking us to permit such sales," he said.

As per the provisions of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940, the sale of drugs in the country is regulated by state licensing authorities.

Nadda said: "The drugs specified in Schedule H, H1 or Schedule X cannot be sold except on and in accordance with the prescription of a registered medical practitioner. The supply of prescription drugs can be effected only by or under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist from a licensed premise."

The government does not have any proposal to amend the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, which could allow the easy facilitation of business in the drug e-commerce sector, Nadda was quoted by The Press Trust of India as saying.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI)  said there is currently no ban on online sale of medicines, but action would be taken against portals found selling drugs without a prescription, reported the Mint.