Verkhovna Rada has taken the first step towards regulating the online sale of medicines

14/ 07/ 2020

Today, July 14, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted as a basis the draft law No.3615-1, which proposes to introduce electronic commerce of medicines in Ukraine, using the best practices of European Union regulation.

Experts of the European Business Association are convinced that the introduction of the online sale of medicines is a progressive solution that can simplify access to drugs, make the purchase of medicines faster and more convenient for consumers, limit physical contacts in pharmacies, which is especially relevant in the context of COVID-19 and seasonal respiratory diseases.

The online sale of medicines is an established and well-regulated practice in the EU and other developed countries. Therefore, we consider it appropriate to allow the remote sales of medicines not only for the period of quarantine but also on a permanent basis. Its full implementation together with the integration of modern electronic systems will provide new tools for forecasting and monitoring the circulation of medicines, as well as facilitate the further introduction of electronic prescriptions. However, considering the practice of EU countries, the Association insists on the gradual introduction of e-commerce for drugs, starting with nonprescription ones in the first stage, and further with prescription drugs upon the full introduction of electronic prescription.

Meanwhile, electronic pharma retail should be carried out exclusively by licensees, who will be included in the respective list, so that the state can ensure reliable control. To enhance the control over the quality of drug sales, we consider it necessary to deliver drugs either by courier directly from the pharmacy or a licensed operator to extend the requirements of the License Terms to all market participants.

Also, Draft Law No.3615-1 contains several provisions aimed at protecting the rights and safety of patients, in particular, provides basic requirements for websites of the legal online sale of medicines. It is assumed that the legality of such websites can be verified with a special state register, and such websites will contain a unified logo and hyperlinks to the respective register. The sale of prescription drugs is possible only with the provision of an e-prescription.

At the same time, the EBA experts have prepared a number of proposals to be additionally taken into account during the revision of the draft law No.3615-1, as well as in the framework of further legislative initiatives related to the regulation of remote sales of medicines. In particular, the remarks concern the wholesale trade of medicines, the regulation of medicine delivery services, and the responsibility for violations of the rules of sales and delivery.

The business community is ready to join the further elaboration of draft law No.3615-1 and hopes for its adoption in the second reading and in general for the introduction of progressive and safe practice of the online sale of medicines in Ukraine.

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