Online Availability of Prescription Drugs: Now the Latest Trend in the China Healthcare Sector


Published Date : Apr 27, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration of China has plans of introducing a latest policy that allows the sale of prescription medicines and drugs via the online portal. This is expected to open up a market of worth US$161 billion to online pharmaceutical operators such as Alibaba.com and Walmart. As per a Reuter’s report, a senior official had expressed that the FDA at China was slowly finalizing the prescription drugs’ list that would require the approval pertaining to online sales. 

Since the mid of 2014, there were several speculations pertaining to this latest policy that has been in circulation right since then. However, if this policy receives approval, it would mean that there will be a shift of focus from hospital and healthcare institutions to the online platforms which in a way will bring about reforms in the opaque and highly fragmented market in China, which at present is controlled mostly, be state distributors and hospitals. This accounts for almost 70% of sale of prescription drugs in China. 

A senior chief financial official at the China Jo-Jo Drugstores Inc., had confirmed that the FDA at China has been reviewing the prescription drugs’ list for the purpose of online sale. He also mentioned that it would take a few weeks or several days before the release of final list. A key challenge that comes in the way of new online pharmacies is giving an assurance to the consumers about the reliability and the quality of the products that are being manufactured. There also seem to be some risk associated to counterfeit, adulterated, and misbranded drugs online that may lead to some major side effects.