Ordering medicine via the internet has increased considerably in recent years. However, it’s not uncommon for some medicine purchased via the internet to be counterfeit. In order not to be mistaken as a fake shop, you should know how to be compliant when selling medicine online.
A lot of the medicine offered online is fake and most of the illegal pharmacies in the world supply all types of medicine, including those requiring prescriptions, without any form of control. As long as the patient can afford them, they will sell it to them. In the EU, the Member States have therefore appointed individual agencies to regulate the sale of online medicine.
In the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the relevant authority. However, in the Netherlands, the Healthcare and Youth Inspectorate (IGJ) is charged with the task of inspecting websites that offer (illegal) medicine and advertise them. Each authority keeps a register of all the websites that are allowed to sell medicine on the internet, which can also be seen online.
How do you to distinguish yourself from the illegal pharmacies out there?
The first step towards distinguishing your shop from illegal pharmacies is, of course, by abiding the law. You‘ll need to know whether the sale of the medication is allowed in the country where you want to sell it.
Second, online shops need to go through a certification process which is held by the competent national authority. Once the shop has successfully completed the certification process, it will receive the EU logo for the online sales of medicine, which the store has to place on their website. With this logo, you can legally sell medication throughout Europe, so you do not have to go through the certification process in every country where you intend to sell.
The European Logo
The EU logo is interactive and is available in all languages. The logo has to be applied for from the authority of the country where the retailer is established. When the consumer clicks on the logo they will be directed to the respective government's website. Here they can see the details of the shop and check which category of products the online shop is allowed to sell.
The MHRA monitors compliance with the UK legal rules governing the sale of medication and will immediately imposes a fine if an online shop does not comply with the rules of the EU logo or national legislation.
The challenges of running an online pharmacy are not dissimilar to other industries. Differentiating your shop can be done by proving your trustworthiness. This can be achieved by applying for the proper ceritifications, which shows your potential customers that you are a trusted shop.