# PharmEasy faces controversy over alleged illegal recommendations
Indian e-pharmacy company PharmEasy has come under fire after a Twitter user claimed that the company’s pharmacist recommended a herbal product along with their existing order. The incident has sparked concerns over the legality of such recommendations and the practices of e-pharmacies in India.
## The controversy
Abhijit Majumder, a professor at IIT Bombay, shared his experience with PharmEasy on Twitter. Majumder alleged that after placing an order for blood sugar medicines, he received a call from a PharmEasy pharmacist who suggested herbal supplements to accompany his existing order. It’s worth noting that recommending medicines in India without being a legal medical practitioner is against the law.
## Government regulations
The Union Health Ministry has recently raised concerns about data privacy and malpractices associated with e-pharmacies, prompting them to consider implementing strict regulations and taking decisive actions against such platforms. Popular online pharmacy platforms like PharmEasy, Tata 1mg, and Netmeds face the possibility of a ban due to alleged violations of online drug sales norms. The ministry is actively exploring options to regulate and take strict measures against e-pharmacies that facilitate the online sale of medicines.
Currently, an updated draft of the New Drugs, Medical Devices, and Cosmetics Bill for the year 2023 is undergoing inter-ministerial consultation. This revised draft proposes that the central government holds the authority to regulate, restrict, or potentially prohibit the sale or distribution of any drug through online channels. If passed, this Bill would replace the existing Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940. The government’s objective is to establish comprehensive regulations that can govern, limit, or even prohibit the sale and distribution of drugs through online platforms.
## PharmEasy’s response
PharmEasy defended its actions in response to Majumder’s tweet, referring to the recommendation as an act of goodwill. Although the tweet has since been deleted, the company stated that they are required to follow the process of confirming the order, and the team of pharmacists will always suggest to the customers a medicine or a product depending on their medical history. When approached for comment, PharmEasy declined to provide a statement.
Nevertheless, an inside source from the company revealed that suggesting over-the-counter products like aloe vera juice, chyawanprash, and herbal immunity-building products is a common practice. They likened it to how a gym trainer or a family member might recommend such products. However, the company’s response to the tweet explicitly mentioned recommending both medicines and products.
The controversy surrounding PharmEasy highlights the need for stricter regulations and guidelines for e-pharmacies in India. As the government continues to explore options to regulate the industry, it remains to be seen how e-pharmacies will adapt and evolve to meet these new standards.