Tmall Forced To Immediately Halt Over-the-counter Drugs Sales

The Alibaba company runs various online commerce platforms, including Tmall. However, the group has demanded vendors stop offering medicine on the platform, as part of a new directive. Albeit these products seem to be genuine, online platforms have to help their drug sales immediately.

OTC Medicine Sales On Tmall

When consumers think of online commerce platforms such as the ones operated by Alibaba, the last thing most people would purchase is drugs. Healthcare is a serious business, and consumers should never medicine online, regardless of how legitimate the seller may appear to be.

The China Food and Drug Administration has issued a new directive prohibiting drug sales on third-party platforms effectively immediately. No particular reason was given for this instruction, unfortunately. However, the Chinese government wanted to promote online sales of over-the-counter medicine.

By the look of things, the usage of technology to prevent and address issues related to high drug pricing and growing hospital queues did not go as planned. Public hospitals are the dominant market leader when it comes to over-the-counter medicine sales, and online marketplaces were starting to take their claim over the past few months.

An Alibaba spokeswoman told the media that:

“Tmall cooperating and complying with the government’s new policy to stop online drug sales on third-party platforms. While the policy change might impact the whole medicine e-commerce business including Yao.Tmall.com, industry players are exploring new ways to use internet technology to help improve the traditional drug retail system.”

Reforming China’s healthcare market will not be as easy as originally assumed. Authorities have expressed their concern regarding the challenges of regulation online drug sales.  With the over-the-counter market set to double in revenue by 2025, regulatory concerns will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately, this directive will have a big impact on pharmacy chains active on the Tmall platform. The platform had brought in an additional revenue stream for these businesses, all of whom will now have to look for other ways to offer their drugs in an online fashion. This new directive will send shockwaves through the entire pharmacy industry in China, that much is certain.

Source; Reuters

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