European Commission launches logo for online pharmacies to protect patients from falsified medicinal products
The European Commission has introduced a common logo for online pharmacies in the European Union enabling patients to recognise authorised online pharmacies and thus avoid the danger of buying falsified medicinal products. The logo will appear on the websites of legally operating online pharmacies in the EU confirming their authenticity and safety, i.e. confirming that the medicines they offer are of approved quality and are safe for use. The logo will lead the Croatian citizens to the website of the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices (HALMED), where all legally operating online pharmacies established in the Republic of Croatia will be listed. If the pharmacy is not listed therein, citizens are advised not to buy the medicines this way.
"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", explained Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health.
The Commission expects for the logo to be in full use in second half of 2015. On the middle left side of the rectangle side the logo will have the flag of the EU member state where the online pharmacy is established, and the text will be translated into the official language of that Member State. Logo will link to the national regulatory authority website, which will list all legally operating online pharmacies and other legally authorised retailers of medicines in that Member State.
While considering buying medicines online the patients need to search for the logo on the website and click on it so as to check if the pharmacy is listed on the national regulatory authority website, which confirms that it is authentic and safe. HALMED will, as a national regulatory authority in the Republic of Croatia, publish on its website and regularly update the list of all legally operating online pharmacies established in Croatia. If the pharmacy is not listed therein, citizens are advised not to buy the medicines this way.
Implementing Regulation which sets out the design for a common logo for online pharmacies, and the technical requirements for ensuring its authenticity has been adopted on 24 June 2014 under the Falsified Medicinal Products Directive (2011/62/EU). The Regulation should enter into force by the end of July 2014, while Member States have one year to prepare for its full application. Therefore, the Commission expects for the logo to be in full use in second half of 2015.
It is important to highlight that online pharmacies in Croatia will only enable buying of OTC medicinal products, i.e. medicinal products which are safe for use in self-medication and for which a medical recommendation is not required.
Falsified medicinal products
Falsified medicinal products are medicinal products which are deliberately and fraudulently mislabelled with respect to their identity or source, may contain right or wrong ingredients, contain no active substance or contain ingredients in the wrong doses or have wrong or fake packaging.
The problem of falsified medicinal products is on the increase globally, with more and more medicinal products, such as anti-cancer and antivirals, now being falsified. The problem of falsified medicinal products has been recognised in the EU and, based on so far experience the Directive 2011/62/EU has been adopted. In which the mechanisms for fighting falsified medicines in the legal supply chain in the EU have been thoroughly elaborated.
HALMED continuously collaborates with all the Croatian and European competent bodies with an aim of preventing sale of falsified medicinal products and medical devices, as well as further improving the level of health protection of patients and medicines users in the EU.