Online medicine retailers
Since 25th June 2015, the purchase of medicines on the Internet is simpler and safer. The safety logo for legal Internet pharmacies guarantees the safe online purchase of GMP-quality pharmaceutical specialities - which are approved in Austria and do not require a prescription -. The Europe-wide harmonisation of the labelling of registered mail-order pharmacies is intended to protect consumers against counterfeit medicines and fraudulent, illegal Internet/mail-order pharmacies.
In order to be on the safe side when buying medicines on the Internet, you should always look for the logo first. The flag symbol in the logo provides information about the location of the respective mail-order pharmacy and the competent authority for medicinal products. In each EU member state, the respective national medicinal product authority is responsible for maintaining a list of all legal (registered) national Internet pharmacies. There you can immediately check whether the Internet pharmacy you have chosen is actually legal (registered) and listed. Only if this is the case should you continue shopping. ATTENTION: For orders from an Austrian mail-order pharmacy, the Austrian flag symbol must be observed. Internet pharmacies operating from other EU countries can also be identified by their flag symbols. Legal Internet pharmacies may only sell over-the-counter medicines in or to Austria.
Every year, large quantities of counterfeit medicines, often ordered on the Internet from illegal traders, are seized by customs. The manufacturers of these products are increasingly succeeding in making forbidden and potentially dangerous counterfeits of original products look deceptively real. In contrast to the original, counterfeit drugs are produced almost without exception under unknown, uncontrolled and health-threatening conditions.
Counterfeit medicines pose a massive health risk:
- They contain either no active substance or another active substance or an active substance in ineffectively low or dangerously high concentrations.
- The use of counterfeit medicinal products can have dangerous and sometimes even toxic or life-threatening effects due to unknown additives or impurities.
The Austrian Medicines Act (§§ 59, 59a AMG) stipulates that medicines may only be supplied to patients by pharmacies and that the supply of medicines by self-service or distance selling (mail order) is prohibited. There was an exception only for non-prescription human medicinal specialities authorised or registered in Austria which were supplied to Austria by distance selling through pharmacies of another EEA contracting party (e.g. Germany) which were authorised to do so under local legislation.
As of 25 June 2015, the possibility of distance selling by Austrian public pharmacies is now also open.
In order to be entitled to mail order business, domestic public pharmacies must fulfil additional requirements in accordance with § 59a of the German Medicines Act. These are checked by the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care. Any public pharmacy wishing to offer this service must report this to the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care before taking up this activity. After registration, the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care includes the pharmacy in a list of approved mail-order pharmacies, thus confirming that the pharmacies listed meet the legal requirements for dispensing speciality medicines by distance selling.
Note: not every registered mail order pharmacy necessarily has to be in operation at the moment, some mail order pharmacies are still under construction.
Registration for applicants and mail order pharmacies