Archive 2015

PSI Public Health Leaflet Highlights Safety Features when Buying Medicines Online

October 02, 2015

A new public health and safety leaflet from the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), the pharmacy regulator, aims to promote the safe purchase of non-prescription Buying non-prescription medicines safely online leafletmedicines online. 50,000 copies of the leaflet are now available to the public from over 1,100 GP surgeries as well as citizen information centres and libraries nationwide.

The leaflet, which has received the ‘Plain English’ mark in conjunction with the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA), includes a safety checklist to help keep people safe when buying non-prescription medicines online.

The leaflet is made available following the introduction of new European Union (EU) rules this summer to combat the sale of fake medicines online. It explains the new EU 'Common Logo', which will appear on websites selling online, and it promotes understanding of the requirements now placed on online sellers of non-prescription medicines.

“When you buy a non-prescription medicine online, it is crucial that you get the exact medication that you expect to get, and that you know that the supplier in question is operating legally,” Marita Kinsella, PSI Registrar said. “The PSI has produced this leaflet to increase public awareness of these new seller requirements and the safety features people should look out for to assist them in recognising legitimate suppliers online.”

Pharmacies, supermarkets and other retailers across the EU can now sell non-prescription medicines, such as ibuprofen, paracetamol containing products, cough and cold treatments and traditional herbal medicines available from health food stores, to Irish patients on their websites.

Any supplier selling non-prescription medicines over the internet in Ireland must follow rules set down in law, which includes making an application to the PSI to be entered on to the internet supply list. This list is available to the public on the PSI website. Sellers must also display the EU ‘Common Logo’ on their website. Equally, websites in other EU countries are allowed to sell non-prescription medicines to consumers in Ireland if the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) authorises the product for use in Ireland as a non-prescription medicine, and the website displays the ‘Common Logo’ with their country’s flag and a link to their country’s Internet Supply List.

The new rules and additional safety features apply to EU countries and to non-prescription medicines only. Prescription medicines are not permitted to be sold over the internet in Ireland.

“With fake online medicines an increasing risk, this leaflet tells patients and the general public what to look out for to prevent them buying fake medications that could be harmful or potentially fatal. If any member of the public has concerns about a supplier of non-prescription medicines, they should contact the PSI,” added Kinsella.

In partnership with the Department of Health, the PSI will oversee this new regulatory system that reflects EU policy governing the internet supply of non-prescription medicines. The objective is to prevent fake medicines that are unreliable and potentially harmful from reaching consumers and patients.

The leaflet can be provided to pharmacies and other locations by sending a request to the PSI by email or by telephone, 01 218 4000.

View/download the leaflet: Buying non-prescription medicines safely online

Related information regarding internet supply of non-prescription medicines

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