MHRA concerned about timeframe for pharmacy Internet logo

Says there are several issues to be resolved

The UK government has welcomed the use of an EU-wide logo for the websites of legally operating online pharmacies/retailers, but has concerns about being able to achieve an entirely authenticated product within the timeframe proposed by the European Commission.

In its response to the consultation about Directive 2011/62/EU, which the EC proposes to introduce during 2013, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) says it fully supports the proposals for a secure, encrypted reciprocal link between the national website and the vendor’s website to provide assurance of the authenticity of the pharmacy or retailer, but there are several issues that need to be resolved, around the hosting arrangements for the website, ensuring that affected retailers and pharmacies are aware of the requirements, and delivering on the technical requirements of the logo.

The MHRA agrees that the wording of the Directive should be general enough to allow for rapid technological advances in this area, but cites a stakeholder who runs a similar, voluntary scheme, who found that the logo it adopted appeared to have been illegitimately copied by non-registered pharmacies.

‘We intend to address the issue very closely to ensure that the authenticity of the common logo is not susceptible to compromise, and will work with the Commission and other member states on this matter,’ the MHRA said.

‘We further consider that the arrangements for publicity and enforcement will be just as important as the technical aspects of the logo in ensuring its correct use.’