90 per cent people show interest in online pharmacies: Survey

New Delhi: A survey released on Wednesday revealed that about 90 per cent people are interested in online purchase of medicines. The survey was undertaken by Consumer Online Foundation, one of the leading consumer organisations in India, and Bureau of Research on Industry and Economic Fundamentals (BRIEF). A total of 4,600 people belonging to all age groups were interviewed for the survey. Around half the respondents were in the age group of 18 to 34 years. Of all the respondents, 88 per cent were males, while 12 per cent were females. According to the survey, consumers belonging to the age groups 65 to 70 years and 35 to 44 years showed the highest intent to use e-pharmacy in the market. "Around 74 per cent of the respondents agreed that convenience in choosing the time and location for the delivery of orders would improve the acceptability of e-pharmacy in the market," the survey pointed out. "Around 84 per cent of the respondents are of the opinion that low prices, discounts, and savings on purchases would be a big feature that would attract consumers towards e-pharmacy," it added. According to the survey, 50 per cent of people said selling medicines without prescription is a norm and while 50 per cent of respondents admitted buying medicines from a chemist shop without prescription, 36 per cent never received any bill for the medicines bought.  The survey also reveals that Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 is the most flouted law in India with rise in medicines being sold without prescriptions and proper records through offline media. Founder of Consumer Online Foundation and Patient Safety and Access Initiative of India Foundation Bejon Misra said: "Government has set up a sub-committee to establish guidelines for online sale of medicines, scheduled to meet on July 8, for which the consumer survey finding can be helpful." "The survey highlights the need for strict enforcement of all the existing laws and immediate legislation in place of the existing Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. It can also bring changes in certain sections of all the other relevant laws to keep pace with changing timings and take stringent action against such criminals who are undermining the health and safety of the citizens," he added.