Police have registered 13 FIRs against an e-commerce portal for selling medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) kits and abortion medicines allegedly without prescription in parts of Maharashtra, an official of the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said here on Saturday.
The cases were registered at various police stations in Mumbai, Thane, Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Aurangabad and Nagpur based on the complaint lodged by the FDA officials, he said.
FDA Assistant Commissioner Ganesh Rokade said the administration had received information that abortion drugs were being sold illegally on Meesho.com, an online portal.
For the purpose of verification, orders were placed for MTP kits without prescription in various parts of the state by the FDA personnel, who acted as decoy customers, he said in a release.
The portal sells cosmetic products, jewellery, apparels and some other items. In its beauty and health section, products related to make-up, wellness and skin-care are available. No section on drugs is visible on its homepage. But when the word MTP is typed in the search window, options like MTP abortion kit, MTP kit tablets, MTP pills become visible. After selecting one of these options, the page displays images of abortion kits of some pharma companies, the release said.
When orders were placed by the FDA personnel online, they were accepted without the doctors’ prescription. As ordered, a total of 16 MTP kits were received through courier parcel in parts of the state. These kits were manufactured by a leading pharma company, and were distributed from Varanasi, Agra and Delhi.
An MTP kit is a ‘Schedule H’ drug under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and it is mandatory to sell it only on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner. Also, according to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 2002 and Rules, 2003, it is mandatory to use this medicine at a health facility and under the supervision of a service provider as its use may endanger the health and life of the patient.
By selling these medical products without prescription, Meesho.com has not ensured compliance of the laws that are in force for the sale of drugs. The drugs like MTP Kit which are not to be sold without doctors’ prescription, the FDA said.
“A total of 13 FIRs have been registered against Meesho.com at the police stations in Mumbai, Thane, Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Aurangabad and Nagpur based on the complaints lodged by the FDA drugs inspectors under relevant sections of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Indian Penal Code (IPC) between April 22 and May 6. Further investigation is on,” the FDA official said.