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pursuant to Rule 133 of the Rules of Procedure

on standardisation of national rules on the sale of pharmaceutical products online

Aldo Patriciello

Motion for a European Parliament resolution on standardisation of national rules on the sale of pharmaceutical products online  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to Rule 133 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas electronic commerce in pharmaceutical products is growing by the day because of the proliferation of sites specialising in the sale, in particular, of products to lose weight and combat impotence and pain, which attract thousands of users due to the guarantee of anonymity and the opportunity of buying medicines that are not available in a given country;

B.     whereas, from a regulatory point of view, the situation in the EU is still extremely heterogeneous, as the sale of online pharmaceuticals has been regulated, for some time, only in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands, where any kind of product can be purchased further to online checks of prescriptions by pharmacies that are authorised to operate such services;

C.     whereas, conversely, Italian citizens, for example, cannot purchase pharmaceuticals online in Italy as the legislator expressly prohibits it, but can do so freely on websites of EU Member States that have been officially authorised to sell such products, since buying on the Internet, in accordance with the principle under which the applicable legislation is that of the country where a contract is drawn up, means that the legislation of the country in which the purchase was made has to be applied;

D.     whereas in a common European market based on the free movement of persons and goods, the ban on purchasing pharmaceutical products online seems highly anachronistic, especially in view of the differences between the national laws of the Member States themselves;

E.     whereas, by purchasing pharmaceuticals online, consumers are being exposed to the risk of receiving counterfeit medicines, i.e. medicines that are deliberately and fraudulently mislabelled with regard to the content and origin of the product, as well as of being robbed of their personal data and money;

F.     whereas, in particular, data from the US authority LegitScript – the only service which verifies and monitors online pharmacies that is officially recognised by pharmacists’ federations – confirm the seriousness and worldwide increase in the spread of counterfeit or illegal medicines; whereas, according to the most recent data, out of
227 792 online pharmacies monitored, 40 238 of which were active, only 246 (0.6%) were legal.

1.      Calls on the Commission to submit a new proposal for a regulation with a view to standardising national rules on the sale of pharmaceutical products online.

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