The Falsified Medicines Directive
The recent EU legislation regarding pharmaceutical traceability, the Falsified Medicines Directive, came into force in January 2013. One of the legislative measures of this directive outlined the need for a common, EU-wide logo to identify legal online pharmacies.
Common EU-Wide Logo
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 50% of medication and pharmaceuticals purchased online are falsified. The purpose of this common logo is to make it easier to distinguish between legal and illegal online pharmacies throughout the European Union with a view to decreasing the number of falsified/counterfeit products being sold online and reaching end users / consumers.
New Logo Design
In June 2014 the European Commission released the final draft of the logo that is to be used on all online pharmacies in the EU. The empty rectangle in the below image will hold the flag of the EU country in which the online pharmacy is established and the text will be translated into the appropriate language.
According to the European Commission, clicking on the link will bring the user through to the national regulatory authority website, which will provide the user with a 'list of all legally operating online pharmacies and other legally authorised retailers of medicines.'
The logo is only trustworthy, according to the European Commission, if: 'A purchaser, after clicking, is redirected to the entry of that pharmacy on the list of legally operating online pharmacies and retailers registered in that member state national authority web page.'
The legislation indicates that the logo was due to come into force towards the end of July / beginning of August 2014 and member states have a year within which they can comply with the regulation. Additional help will be provided by the European Commission to aid in the promotion of these new logo requirements with a Communication Toolkit being provided to national authorities.
European Commission: Health: Human-Use: Falsified Medicines, [Online] Available From: http://ec.europa.eu/health/human-use/falsified_medicines/index_en.htm, [Accessed: 28th April 2014]
World Health Organization: Medicines: General Information on Counterfeit Medicines, [Online] Available From: http://www.who.int/medicines/services/counterfeit/overview/en/, [Accessed: 28th April 2014]
European Commission: Press Release Databases: Press Release Details: “Buying medicines online? Commission introduces logo to make sure consumers are safe.” [Online] Available From: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-712_en.htm., [Accessed: 19th August 2014]
European Commission: Medicinal Products for Human Use: “EU Logo for Online Sale of Medicines” [Online] Available From: http://ec.europa.eu/health/human-use/eu-logo/index_en.htm, [Accessed: 19th August 2014]