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.