Ensuring Patient Safety in Online Pharmacies

NCDFeaturedImageEuropol recently announced the seizure of hundreds of domain names for allegedly selling counterfeit goods online.  Pharmaceuticals have been one of the product categories seized. It’s an example of effective cooperation between Europol and tens of law enforcement agencies from around the world. Ensuring that online pharmacies are safe requires a joint approach by all relevant actors.

As part of our goal of making life better for people around the world, we are determined to ensure that patients have access to safe and effective medicines. According to the European Alliance of Access to Safe Medicines, 62% of medicines from online pharmacies could be substandard or counterfeit. Falsified medicines can significantly harm public and personal health.

There are important initiatives that have made it their goal to improve patient safety on the Internet:

  • The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacy EU is a multi-stakeholder coalition dedicated to making the internet a safer place to buy medicines where it’s legal to do so.  
  • The Center of Safe Internet Pharmacies where some of the world’s leading Internet and e-commerce companies came together to focus on the promotion of safe online pharmacies through education and enforcement and to share reliable information with organizations, providers, and consumers.
  • Fight the Fakes is a global awareness raising campaign to show the risk of falsified medicines.
  • The US-based National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) which recently bought the suffix ‘.pharmacy’ to establish it as a domain to a secure and trustworthy destination where consumers around the globe can be sure the medications they buy online are authentic and safe.


Patient safety is ignored by the producers of falsified medicines, but patient safety is at the core of our daily work. This is why we work with regulatory and law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to ensure that patients receive only safe and effective medicines.

The fight against falsified medicines is a fight for patient safety, and that is the reason it will remain a key part of our mission to make life better for people around the world.