Washington, DC – The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global) and Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacy (ASOP EU) hosted the fifth Best Practices Sharing Workshop in Paris, France on June 29, 2017.
ASOP Global’s Executive Director, Libby Baney, ASOP EU’s Executive Director, Mike Isles and Klaus Gritschneder and were joined by representatives from 20 EU Member States and not-for-profit patient safety organizations from the U.S. and Europe, including the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).
“Under the new Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), beginning in February 2019 every prescription pack in Europe will have a unique identifier data matrix barcode to protect the supply chain from falsified medicines,” Isles said.
“In addition, there is also the requirement for each Member State, in co-operation with the EU Health Commission (DG Sante), to mount public awareness campaigns on the dangers of falsified medicines and the purpose of a “common logo” whereby every genuine pharmacy that sells medicines online must display this logo which, when clicked on will securely route to the in-country registry of pharmacies (and retailers where this is allowed) that have opted to sell medicines online as well as their normal in-premises service.”
Workshop participants also discussed the latest progress relating to the NABP’s top level domain name initiative .pharmacy, which Isles said is complementary to the common logo.
“If you click on a .pharmacy website, you know it will be operating legally and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction where the pharmacy resides and where it serves patients,” explained NABP’s Policy and Communications Director, Melissa Madigan. “We are making good progress in pharmacies registering their websites with the .pharmacy domain name and so our challenge is educating the patient to this new secure way of buying medicines online.”
“Clearly this is an important component of the Directive and it is heartening to see the beginnings of effective awareness campaigns by some Member States but at the same time disappointing to learn that as no in-country funding for such activity is provided for within a EU Directive, then sadly the extent and level of activity to educate the public will be extremely variable,” Isles said.
“The public, patients and consumers need to know the issues relating to the plethora of illegally operating websites. It is a fact that at any one time in Europe there are over 30,000 websites selling medicines illegally. And the extent of this criminal activity is growing year on year with subsequent damage to people’s health.”
ASOP EU will be issuing a report on the various Member State awareness raising activities with a view to raising the profile of this important issue amongst influential parties such as the EU Parliament, DG Sante and other relevant bodies.
About ASOP GLOBAL
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to combatting illegal online pharmacies and counterfeit medicines and making the Internet safe for consumers worldwide through advocacy, research and education.
About ASOP EU
Founded London in 2011, participants in the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacy (ASOP EU) are dedicated to creating an environment that enables patients to buy their medicines online safely, in countries where it is legal for them to do so. ASOP EU does not campaign for the introduction of online pharmacy where it is not already legal.