In the wake of the 21-day lockdown, the Union Health Ministry on March 26, 2020 allowed for essential medicines to be delivered to one’s doorstep. This was done in an effort to restrict people’s movement and ensure that the nationwide lockdown is a success without curbing access to essential supplies. In light of the widespread pandemic, it seemed necessary for the government to issue such an order taking into account the greater public interest. Such a measure is bound to regulate the distribution of medicines and ensure that the demand is adequately met even at such desperate hours. The notification issued by the Health Ministry allows for medical retailers to deliver medicines at people’s doorsteps. The order came into force on the day of its publication in the official gazette and it read,
“The central government is satisfied that retail sale of drugs to the doorstep of consumers is essential to meet the requirements of emergency arising due to COVID-19 and in the public interest, it is necessary and expedient to regulate the sale and distribution of drugs for their delivery to consumers.”
The notification further read that the licensee shall present an e-mail ID for registration with the licensing authority if prescriptions are to be received via email. Further, the prescription shall only be dispensed with if it is presented to the licensee within 30 days of its issue and in severe or critical cases, the prescription shall only be dispensed with if it is presented to the licensee within a week of its issue. Also as per the notification, the bill shall only be sent through the return email and records of all such transactions shall be maintained by the licensee. By allowing the availability of essential medicines, the government ensured that there is no reason to panic and advised the population to avoid all unnecessary travel and outdoor activities. Such proactive initiates and measures will assure the citizens of India that their safety and protection are of utmost importance.
The order issued by the Union Health Ministry is commendable on various fronts and is a reflection of the staunch leadership of the Indian Government which is navigating the path for its citizens through the murky waters that have engulfed the country for the past month.