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Mail-Order Trade in Medicines in Europe — A Guide for Legislators to Protect Consumers

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This article discusses mail-order trade in medicines. It explains why this trade has developed and why there is a need for strict safety standards. The European Court of Justice obliged member states to allow such trade in non prescription medicines but did not specify any safety standards. The 2007 resolution of the Council of Europe lays these down precisely. An analysis of the legal situation in the 30 EU and EEA states shows that they increasingly permit this trade. However, there are considerable deficits as regards the necessary safety standards. To protect consumers from illegal medicine sales via the internet, they should be able to easily identify legal products online. Legislators should act accordingly.

Affiliations: 1: Associate Head of Division, Division “Basic Issues, Act on Pharmaceutical Services, Pharmaceutical Professions”, German Federal Ministry of Health, Berlin, Germany


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