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Is It Legal To Do Home Delivery Of Medicines?

Medicine delivery is changing the world for good, providing access to important medicines and drugs on time and saving millions of lives. Various countries are adopting this trend as people are demanding home delivery of medicines. However, many countries still face the issues of rigid laws and regulations that don’t allow the medicine delivery market to flourish. So, it is worthy to know Is It Legal To Do Home Delivery Of Medicines?


The global pharmacy delivery market is expected to reach $1694.7 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 6.4%. In North America alone, the medicine delivery market is projected to reach $505.060 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 8.54% from $308.903 in 2018.


This brings us to the question if it is legal to do home delivery of medicines. Further, what is the state of medicine delivery in countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, UK, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and India?


The USA

People in the US rely heavily on online pharmacies, however many of the US citizens order medicines online from other countries such as Mexico, India, Thailand, South Africa, etc to avail huge discounts of 50%-80% in comparison to the prices in the US. Online pharmacies in the US are verified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). 

Although, it is legal to do home delivery of medicines in the US, there are certain risks and legalities involved based on the amount and kind of drugs purchased online. Further, it is illegal for the US citizens to buy controlled substances from foreign pharmacies. 

Online medicine delivery apps such as Epocrates and Doximity are the leading brands in the US. Epocrates supplies information on diagnostics, diseases, drugs and patient with features such as drug calculation and a pill identifier. Doximity provides doctors, physicians, surgeons, etc with a private networking platform.

Canada

All the pharmacies in Canada are licensed by NAPRA, whether they are online pharmacies or brick and mortar stores. Home delivery of medicines in Canada is very much legal, however, people are also exposed to risks of counterfeit drugs and health risks.

Online pharmacy delivery apps are regulated by the Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act and the Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act. Medicine delivery within or outside of Canada are required to comply with the requirements of DPRA. 

Pharmacy delivery apps and websites such as Medicine Delivery, Maple and Algo are the known brands in Canada. Maple connects patients to physicians and doctors online 24*7 and the patients can receive online prescription or diagnosis after the consultation. Algo provides customers with access order prescriptions or purchase from store products and get them delivered to their address.

Australia

Medicines, also known as therapeutic goods in Australia are assessed and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). However, TGA doesn’t regulate medicines bought online from other countries. Moreover, purchasing steroids or antibiotics from overseas companies is considered illegal in Australia. Buying medicines online is legal in Australia provided that you have a verified prescription. 

Websites such as Doctors on Demand connect patients with registered Australian general practitioners for prescription, referrals or certificates through a secure video call.

The UK

Over 2 million people in the UK purchase medicines online from registered online pharmacies. The pharmacy profession in the UK is regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC). Furthermore, the Care Quality Commission in England regulates, registers and inspects healthcare providers and activities. 

Home delivery of medicines in the UK is legal provided that the purchase of drugs online is after a consultation with a doctor, face to face or online. The registered pharmacies and medicine retailers in the US are required to meet GPhC standards and EU common logo. 

Boots, a leading health and beauty retailer in the UK, charges new patients with a home delivery fee of £5 on every purchase and also gives them an option to purchase a one-year subscription of £55 for medicine delivery. 

UAE

Home delivery of medicines in cities such as Dubai is legal, so much so, that the Dubai Health Authority encourages patients to register for Home Delivery of Medicines by filling an electronic delivery request form when they visit a clinic or hospital. The Ministry of Health and Prevention has been approving online pharmacies so that they can be available in all pharmacies in the UAE.

The leading online pharmacy delivery apps and websites in the UAE are Aster Pharmacy and 800-Pharmacy that provide 24-hour medicine delivery to customers, after submission and verification of the prescriptions and ID proof.

Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has also legalized home delivery of medicines. The Saudi FDA regulates the activities of online pharmacies. Saydl is one of the mobile applications in Saudi Arabia that provides home delivery of medicines and pharmacy items within an hour.

India

A country with an estimated population of 1,366,417,754 people which is equal to 17.71% of the total population in the world. Many Indians still live in villages with an unorganized healthcare system, limited access to medicines, drugs, and hospitals. Living in unhygienic and poor conditions, many end up dying as they don’t receive appropriate treatment or timely medications. Medicine delivery is highly sought by these people to gain access to healthcare and essential drugs. 

In India, pharmacies that hold the license are allowed to sell over the counter medicines and other medicines against valid prescriptions. The current laws and regulations in the country do not have provisions that govern online pharmacies. Consequently, many illegal pharmacies are leveraging this situation giving rise to the fake drug industry that results in the loss of 1 million lives every year.

If the online pharmacy delivery industry is regulated properly in India, it can prove to be beneficial for healthcare providers as well as the people. Online pharmacies such as Netmeds and 1Mg are the leading brands in the Indian market, who partner with local pharmacies to deliver medicines to customers. They pass on prescriptions submitted by customers to the registered pharmacies and confirm the order after the verification of the prescription. Further, the customer is required to show the original prescription at the time of delivery.

With numerous countries adopting the pharmacy delivery apps the global pharmaceutical industry is experiencing significant growth. Medicine delivery app development companies have become an important resource to build outstanding applications that connect people with healthcare providers and save lives. 

Last modified: 3 Dec 2019