The illegal sale of medicinal products via the Internet is a serious threat to public health and safety as falsified medicinal products may easily reach the public in this way.
The EU has introduced a common logo for legally operating online pharmacies/retailers in EU countries as one of the measures to fight against falsified medicines. The logo vouches for the authenticity of the websites and guarantees the safety of the products.
The common logo for legally operating online pharmacies/retailers in EU countries was first introduced by Directive 2011/62/EU (the Falsified Medicines Directive) as one of the measures to fight against falsified medicines.
The Directive gave the European Commission a legal basis to establish the design of a common logo as well as the technical, electronic and cryptographic requirements for verification of its authenticity. It is up to EU countries however, to determine the specific conditions for the retail supply of medicinal products to the public. EU countries may impose certain conditions and limitations, e.g. by not allowing online sale of prescription medicines.
On 24 June 2014 the European Commission adopted the new common logo through Implementing Regulation 699/2014. As of 1st of July 2015, all online pharmacies or retailers legally operating in the EU should display the logo.
The Implementing Regulation was prepared taking into account the results of a public consultation:
How does the logo work?
The logo consists of a national flag in the middle left side of the logo which corresponds to the EU country where the pharmacy or retailer is registered or authorised. Only national flags of EU countries or those of Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein feature. Therefore, a logo displaying the EU flag, for example, would not be legal.
The logo links to the website of the national competent authority listing all legally operating online pharmacies/retailers. National websites are listed with the European Medicines Agency (EMA). By simply clicking on the logo, a purchaser of the medicines online will be sent to the entry of the pharmacy on that national list.
The logo can be trusted only if after selecting, a purchaser is redirected to the entry of that pharmacy on the list of legally operating online pharmacies and retailers registered in that EU country on the national web-page.
For more information see the technical paper.