Today, online pharmacies that are based and selling medication internationally within the European Union (EU) are required to publish a new EU online pharmacy logo, as shown in the image to your left. We have updated our Verification Program requirements to reflect the EU’s new rules. The practice of international pharmacy is expressly legal within the EU, unlike between, say, the U.S. and Canada, although some EU member countries place national restrictions limiting the scope of cross-border sales. Only online pharmacies based in the member states of the EU are eligible for the new seal. Each seal will contain a special link that consumers can click to verify the seal’s authenticity.
Like the PharmacyChecker seal (right), the purpose of the EU logo is to help consumers shop safely for prescription drugs over the Internet and avoid dangerous pharmacy sites. To obtain a PharmacyChecker seal, an online pharmacy must meet many safety requirements, but its program seeks to maximize global access to safe and affordable medication to protect public health. The PharmacyChecker seal can also be authenticated by clicking it. If the seal profile is not hosted on www.pharmacychecker.com, then it’s a fake seal!
It’s very important to understand that regulating online pharmacies in the EU is very different from U.S. regulations that can prevent Americans from obtaining safe, affordable prescribed medication. Unlike tens of millions in America, citizens of the EU are generally not faced with having to choose between food and medicine due to the high cost of prescription drugs. Why? The costs for prescription drugs are much lower in the EU than in the U.S., and their healthcare systems better ensure that everyone has access to affordable medication. Therefore, unlike Americans, EU citizens are not usually looking online for medications to treat asthma, depression, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and stroke because they can afford them at local pharmacies. They are much more likely to be bargain hunting for less essential medications, such as those that treat erectile dysfunction and hair loss, because those medications are often not covered by health insurance policies in the EU – similar in that respect to health coverage in the U.S.
Identifying online pharmacies that sell safe and effective medications and meet critical safety criteria protects consumers, and so does helping them find the lowest drug prices. That’s why we launched PharmacyChecker.com in 2003. However, I have a mixed mindset about the new EU online pharmacy logo. I believe that people in the EU, like those in America or anywhere, should be able to access safe and affordable medication globally if they can’t obtain it locally. It’s difficult to tell if the EU’s new logo and rules will impede access to medicines; although, as discussed, drug affordability is a much, much smaller problem in the EU than in the U.S. We’ll be closely following how the new regulations are working and what impact they have on consumers and their online access to safe and affordable medicine.