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Check you’re selling medicines online lawfully

Online retailers must follow UK law, as well as the law of the country to which they are selling medicine

People selling or supplying medicines online to another country within the European Economic Area (EEA) – should ensure they follow the applicable law of that country - the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said today. This is in addition to complying with UK law.

The first step is to check the rules for supplying medicines online as countries within the EEA have different restrictions and some do not allow the online supply of medicines at all.

We have issued updated guidance for selling medicines online to the public. The guidance has additional advice for supplying medicines online to the public – both in the UK and the EEA.

You must check that a particular product has been authorised for use in that country. The authorisation will set out the presentation, packaging and language that must be used. It is against the law to use any other packaging or another language.

Failure to supply the authorised medicine in the appropriate packaging for the destination country is a breach of the distance selling logo registration with MHRA.

Lynda Scammell, Senior Policy Adviser in Inspection, Enforcement and Standards said:

We have updated our advice to make it clear that online retailers should comply with the law of the country they are selling to.

The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-for-the-eu-common-logo. This sets out the steps to take to ensure appropriate supply of medicines to the public in the UK or other EEA countries.

If you are supplying medicines online to another EEA country, it is your responsibility to check that this is allowed in that country. You must also only use the authorised pack of the destination country.

Notes to Editor

  • MHRA is a centre of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency which also includes the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) and the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). The Agency is an executive agency of the Department of Health. www.mhra.gov.uk

  • Online retailers displaying the distance selling logo are registered with the MHRA to supply legitimate medicines. Check whether a website can sell medicines online by searching our registry: http://medicine-seller-register.mhra.gov.uk/

  • Countries in European Economic Area (EEA): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health

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