Whether and under what conditions the online sale of prescription-only medicines is permitted is decided by each country for itself in compliance with European law. The consequence of the highly diverse legislation is a regulatory patchwork, which this article will address in more detail.
SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE (SAE) offers a wide product portfolio, from OTC to beauty and personal care products and from high quality natural food and health products to low carb products and sports nutrition. Furthermore, SAE is allowed to offer its patients prescription medicines (Rx) online in a few countries. To date, overarching legislation at EU level for the sale of Rx does not exist: The decision to allow the online sale of Rx lies with individual countries. Below you will find an overview of ´Rx patchwork Europe´ of the countries in which SAE is active:
Since 2004, it has been permitted to sell Rx online. With more than 17 years of experience on the German Rx market, we are able to offer our patients much more than just the possibility of buying Rx. In fact, patients who are for example chronically ill can receive tailormade advice from our qualified pharmacists based on the knowledge and expertise we have developed over time.
Rx can be sold online; however, this is a market where SAE has not been active so far. Today, SAE is only active in the Netherlands through its brand FARMALINE, offering beauty and personal care products. Since the acquisition of MedApp in 2021, which sells Rx via its app online, enables SAE to further expand into the area of Rx in the Dutch market.
This non-EU country can be described as the ´odd one´ compared to the other countries. In Switzerland, we can only offer products such as beauty and personal care products, natural food and health products, low carb products and sports nutrition in our web shop SHOP APOTHEKE.ch. The sale of both OTC and RX are allowed online however not for foreign-based online pharmacies. In addition, OTC can only be sold online based on prescription. So, Rx and OTC are more or less treated in the same way.
Austria, Belgium, France and Italy
In these countries, the sale of Rx online is strictly prohibited. We are, however, allowed to sell OTC and all other products in our assortment for which we have an authorisation to sell them in these countries. SAE offers its products in it webshops SHOP APOTHEKE.at (Austria), FARMALINE (Belgium), SHOP FARMACIE (France), SHOP FARMACIA (Italy) respectively.
Our vast experience in the German market shows that patients with chronic diseases and / or restricted mobility in particular benefit from the low-threshold online purchase of prescription drugs. We therefore follow political discussions on possible liberalization in other countries very closely and bring our expertise across to various decision-makers.