The FDA filed 13 FIRs against meesho.com and distributors in UP and Delhi who supplied the kits to the portal. The complaints against the police were lodged at police stations in Mumbai, Thane, Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Aurangabad and Nagpur. The investigation began after the FDA received a tip that abortion drugs were being sold illegally on the online store that sold men’s and women’s beauty and wellness products.
To verify the information, department officials placed several orders from different parts of the state as decoy customers. All were able to place orders successfully without being asked once for a medical prescription. The FDA discovered that there was no header for “drugs” because there were categories for “Beauty and Health” or “Bags and Shoes” on the portal’s homepage.
“Yet, when the word MTP is typed in the search window, options like MTP Abortion Kit, MTP Kits Tablets, MTP Pills, MTP Tabs, etc. become available. abortifacients like Unwanted Kit, Dr Morepen MTP Kit have appeared and they could be added to the shopping cart,” the FDA official said, adding that all orders are placed by mail. ‘Unwanted kit’ and ‘Dr Morepen MTP Kit’ are respectively manufactured by Mankind Pharma and Dr Morepen and distributed by agencies in Varanasi, Agra and Delhi mainly.
The MTP Kit is a Schedule H drug under the Medicines and Cosmetics Act 1940, and is only required to be sold on the prescription of a licensed physician. In addition, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 2002 mandates its use in a health facility and under the supervision of a service provider. “Meesho.com has failed to ensure compliance with the laws on the sale of medicines and as a result cases have been brought under the Medicines and Cosmetics Act and the IPC, 1860,” said the FDA official.
Dr. Nandita Palshekar, former president of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), said these companies reflect the massive unmet need for safe abortions. “Not everything should be available online. MTP pills should not be taken unsupervised as it can lead to incomplete abortion and many other complications,” she said. Many agencies strive to ensure that women feel comfortable approaching gynecologists. The latter is also trained not to be judgmental and to provide the right solution with information on contraception.