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New logo for online shop selling medicines

As from 1 July 2015, all online pharmacies or online shop selling medicines in the EU must display a new logo to show they are operating legally. This logo was introduced through the Falsified Medicines Directive (2011/62/EU) to protect patients from falsified medicines.

Falsified medicines - fake medicines designed to look like real, authorised medicines - might contain ingredients which are of bad quality or in the wrong dose, or they might contain no active ingredients at all.

The sale of medicines online is legal in some EU countries, and not in others. This will still remain the case. For more information on the online sale of medicines, please visit this page of the European Medicines Agency website.

How does it work?

Any patient considering buying medicines online should look out for the logo on the website of the online pharmacy. The logo should be displayed on every page of the website. When clicking on the logo, you should be taken to the website of the national regulatory authority where the online pharmacy is based, which contains a list of all legally operating pharmacies and online sellers of medicines in that country.

What’s EPF view?

EPF strongly believes that patients need to be sure the medicines they consume are safe. Therefore the relationship between patients and health professionals should always remain the starting point, the safest and most effective partnership in any health decision-making.

Nevertheless, patients with chronic diseases, patients with mobility difficulties, patients requiring care in the homeolder people, working people, or people that are long way from the nearest pharmacy may find it difficult to collect medicines from public pharmacies; at that moment online pharmacies do provide another avenue.

We also think some additional measures which were not included in the directive could help in ensuring patient safety, for example setting mechanisms to report illegal websites or additional warning on search engines” adds EPF Secretary General Nicola Bedlington.

We encourage national authorities to involve patient organisations in campaigns to appropriately inform the public on online sale of medicines and on the logo as they have key expertise in communicating on safety and risks to the patient community that they know well” she concludes.

Contact: Kaisa Immonen-Charalambous, EPF Senior Policy Advisor, policy@eu-patient.eu