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by Dominic Tyer
Says an official logo will help consumers verify authenticity of internet pharmacies
The European Commission has unveiled two potential designs for the logo officially-sanctioned internet pharmacies will use to help consumers verify their authenticity.
The need for a Europe-wide online pharmacy logo was mandated under new European falsified medicines legislation, which will begin to come into affect on January 2 next year.
The aim of the new logo is to help prevent falsified medicines entering the legal supply chain while allowing consumers to safely buy medicines online.
The scale of the problem was highlighted earlier this month when a massive worldwide crackdown on illegal online pharmacies seized illicit medicines worth $10.5m and shut down more than 18,000 websites. At the same time US regulator the FDA launched a campaign, BeSafeRx – Know Your Online Pharmacy, to warn consumers about the dangers of fraudulent websites.
The Commission's new logo will cover “legally-operating online pharmacies/retailers offering medicinal products for human use for sale at a distance to the public”.
Once its design has been finalised the new logo will have to be clearly displayed on every page of any website within the EU that offers medicines for sale, and it will also have to identify the EU member state where the online pharmacy is based.
Member states will have to set up a dedicated website to provide a national list of all legally-operating online pharmacies/retailers.
For verification purposes this site will link to each of the online pharmacies, who will in turn be required to link back to the national list via the new logo.
The new falsified medicines legislation also introduces tougher rules to improve the protection of public health with new harmonised, pan-European measures, including:
• A new medicines packaging authenticity feature
• Tougher rules on the control and inspection of producers of active pharmaceutical ingredients
• Strengthened record-keeping requirements for wholesale distributors.
The European Commission's consultation on the new online pharmacies logo runs until January 17, 2013.