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Two weeks until EU anti-counterfeiting logo deadline

The logo will link to a list of regulated pharmacies and other medicines retailers

All pharmacy websites must display a logo to avoid a possible jail sentence, says the MHRA

Online pharmacies have two weeks to display an anti-counterfeit logo to comply with EU law.

As part of European anti-counterfeit laws, all legitimate websites selling medicines in the UK must be registered with the MHRA and display a common logo by July 1. The logo will link to a complete list of online pharmacies and medicine retailers on the website of the national medicines regulator.

The MHRA stressed that anyone found selling medicines online without displaying the logo could face up a fine, up to two years in prison or both. However, Pharmacy Voice said the MHRA has told it that the legal requirement to display a logo from July 1 would not be possible and the watchdog "will be pragmatic about encouraging compliance before taking legal action".

Under the scheme, medicines offered online must be licensed in the country of the patient buying them. Third-party websites selling medicines from a registered provider must also display the logo, the MHRA warned.

Pharmacies have been able to register for the new logo through the MHRA website since Tuesday (June 16), the watchdog said.

The MHRA highlighted that the logo was separate to the voluntary logo scheme run by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

The GPhC said it had been “working closely” with the MHRA ahead of the roll-out of the EU logo, and was “now in a position to begin a review” of its own logo scheme. “The review will consider any changes which would support patients and consumers to keep themselves safe when they are obtaining medicines from a registered internet pharmacy,” it said.

Last year, Pharmacy Voice warned that the EU logo could confuse patients by not differentiating between pharmacies and other retailers.

Will the logo help crack down on online counterfeit medicines sales?

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Shamir Patel, Community pharmacist

2 weeks to implement is totally unrealistic! Then you apply today it takes 5 days to review your application. The third party sites eg eBay, Amazon don't have the facility for html tags or allow off site links. This affects all licensed products including GSL

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Simple solution. Don't sell MEDICINES even if they are GSL ON-LINE. Let the lazy people, who want everything at their door steps including healthcare, get out and get some fresh air and real-time face to face advice. I know all those making some quick bucks, by advertising a third party sponsored webpage for sales of these so called GSL items, would disagree with me including Oliver who promotes extensively the service of the company he may or may not represent.

Oliver Harris, Owner

Don't disagree with you as you are factually WRONG. Pharmacies who have their on-line retail sales fulfilled using our service are covered by the logo of the professionally responsible registered internet pharmacy entity fulfilling the orders .. this goes for other services who operate similarly to us. This is much broader than selling gsl / pmeds online .. as seems to be being insisted on for any invitation to supply any kind of medicine online, not just sales of medicines, as MHRA have told us they expect anyone offering online repeat ordering to carry the logo even though technically no medicine is being sold. Similarly if a pharmacy publicises an offer online for anything medicinal and charge over the phone, the logo is also required. If a pharmacy uses an online doctor service and fulfills the prescription itself, then the pharmacy needs to apply for the logo. If the online doctor service fulfils the prescription their in house pharmacy must have the logo and supply it to you to appear on all relevant pages.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Why do people having a repeat ordering function have to have the logo, even when neither they advertising nor offering to sell any medicines is in sight ??? Does it make any sense ?? In that case all the online websites have to have the Logo, including Dailymail etc who do advertise some kind of health related (medicinal or non medicinal) product online (weight loss/ gain pills ??)

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Thanks Oliver for being so open unlike few others who tend to force the powers to be to edit or delete the messages which is not in their favour. Raj Patel, don't just post GUESSING you know all. Now, looking at Oliver's post and his detailed information on what MHRA expects, do websites, who give information on diseases and mention the names of medicines (and have advertisements of some or the other medicine related companies) have to show this logo too (eg., Diabetes uk, C&D, PJOnline) even though the actual transaction never happens ???

Raj Patel,

really? Things are changing fast led by technology and what customers want (note not patients anymore). Everyone has the prerogative to embrace or not obviously but suspect some will be left behind. Customers can enjoy fresh air by a nice walk with family / dog at a time they choose - it's convenient FOR THEM. btw don't see Oliver promoting any service but trying to offer useful advice?

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Really, Really??? So the customers (not patients as per you) can buy anything they feel is suitable to them just by reading something on the net ?? Then why not self diagnose and self prescribe POMs? That will reduce the hell lot of GP work load as well as great business for Internet Pharmacies. Am I right? By the way if you know (of course if my guess is right) Oliver's comment is based on his work with an organisation that does web designing for Pharmacies ( again I think so). How I hate to add all these comments in brackets --- Community Principles, you see.

Oliver Harris, Owner

Sorry but I have to say this is alarmist clickbait. Pharmacy voice and the MHRA have both said that Pharmacies are NOT expected to display the logo BY JULY 1st as the MHRA and pharmacy bodies only started meeting on how to implement this in late spring and the MHRA only opened up the registration process on Tuesday this week. We are advising all our clients to apply for the logo if they are in any doubt as to whether they need it as it is free to register for currently and the potential penalties of up to 2yrs in the clink or large fine or both are pretty severe. The MHRA is responsible in the UK for accreditation and enforcement and seeing as they have only just opened the registration process, they have told us and Pharmacy Voice etc that they will not be enforcing compliance with a heavy hand straight away ... but if you are a pharmacy and still haven't even applied by the Autumn, expect a warning and if you ignore that, expect strong action.

James Waldron, Editorial

Dear Mr Harris, Thank you for highlighting this. I have contacted Pharmacy Voice for confirmation and we will then amend the article as necessary. Regards, James Waldron (C+D news editor)

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