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Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Revenge of the Luddites, Part II

The Pharmacists Syndicate is taking its beef with the 21st century to 3elagi, filing a lawsuit yesterday against the digital pharmacy platform for selling directly to consumers without a pharmacist as an intermediary, Masrawy reports. The case accuses the app of contravening a 1955 law that says only pharmacies and hospitals can sell meds to consumers. The lawsuit also accuses the company of violating article 27 of the Cybercrimes Act, which criminalizes the use of the internet to aid in committing a crime.

The syndicate already picked this bone with distributor Ibnsina Pharma, calling for a boycott of the company after Ibnsina said it planned to acquire a 75% stake in the app’s mother company, 3elagi Tech. Ibnsina denied wrongdoing but walked away from the purchase last week. Pharmacists are Ibnsina’s core customers.

3elagi links customers to stores around the country offering direct delivery. The company’s website claims its algorithm selects pharmacists based on their prices and location. Yodawy uses a similar model, but its business model emphasizes benefit management for ins companies. The Pharmacists Syndicate has long acted as a gatekeeper to the profession and insists that any sale of medicines outside of brick and mortar pharmacies (owned by an individual, licensed druggist) is illegal.

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