Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Buying medicines online? Commission introduces logo to make sure consumers are safe

With Europeans increasingly buying medicines online, how can we be sure that an online pharmacy is authentic and safe?

Today, the Commission adopts an implementing Regulation under the Falsified Medicinal Products Directive (2011/62/EU) which sets out the design for a common logo for online pharmacies, and the technical requirements for ensuring its authenticity.

The logo will fully be available in second half of 2015.

Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health, said: "When buying medicines online, consumers must be aware that unless they buy from legally-operating online medicine suppliers, they run the risk of buying medicines that are falsified. Falsified medicines can be ineffective, harmful or even deadly. The Commission has established a common logo for online pharmacies so consumers can stay safe."

This is the logo to look out for on the homepage of an online pharmacy. The rectangle on the middle left side will have the flag of the EU country where the online pharmacy is established, and the text will be translated into the official language/s of that country.

How does it work?

First, look for the logo on the website through which you are considering buying medicines and click on it. You should be taken to the national regulatory authority website, which lists all legally operating online pharmacies and other legally authorised retailers of medicines. Check that the pharmacy is listed. Then continue with your purchase. If not listed, do not buy from that website. Use one of the legitimate medicine retailers listed on your national regulatory authority’s website. 

When will it start to appear? 

The Regulation should enter into force in the next four to six weeks. Member States have one year to prepare for its application. The European Commission is providing national authorities with a Communication Toolkit to support them with the preparation of national awareness campaigns which are required by the Falsified Medicines Directive.

The toolkit and more information on falsified medicines is available here: