Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (ICDRA) - Hong Kong, China, 24 - 27 June 2002
(2002; 166 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAbbreviations and acronyms used in this report
Open this folder and view contentsOpening ceremony
Open this folder and view contentsHerbal medicines
Open this folder and view contentsKeynote address
Open this folder and view contentsSafety of blood-derived products
Open this folder and view contentsAntimicrobial resistance - new initiatives
Open this folder and view contentsHarmonization I
Open this folder and view contentsHarmonization II
Open this folder and view contentsProtection of trial subjects in clinical trials
Open this folder and view contentsRegulating biotechnology products
Open this folder and view contentsRegulatory challenges: health sector reform and drug regulatory capacity
Open this folder and view contentsAccess to drugs and vaccines I
Open this folder and view contentsAccess to drugs and vaccines II
Open this folder and view contentsCounterfeit pharmaceutical products
Open this folder and view contentsHomoeopathy
Open this folder and view contentsSafety monitoring
Close this folderE-Commerce
View the documentDrug promotion and sales through the Internet
View the documentMedicines and the Internet - regulatory approaches in Singapore
View the documentPharmaceuticals and e-commerce: the Netherlands
View the documentRecommendations
Open this folder and view contentsCurrent topics
Open this folder and view contentsRegulatory challenges of new technologies
View the documentList of participants
View the documentBack cover
 

Pharmaceuticals and e-commerce: the Netherlands

Dr Hans Heuvelmans, the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, two units under the Inspectorate of Health Care, namely the Unit for Application and Use of Medicines, and the Unit for Advertisements on Medicines, are responsible for the regulation of pharmaceuticals. The European Union market currently comprises 15 member states, with 377 million inhabitants. There is free movement of commodities such as pharmaceuticals among member states, but differences and distinctions do exist, such as in registration criteria, requirements for outlets for over-the-counter drugs, property and qualification standards, and acceptability of mail-order pharmacies. The prices of medicines sold in different member states also show significant variation. There is nothing specific on Internet matters in the laws or regulations for pharmaceuticals and e-commerce in the Netherlands.

Day-to-day practice relies on collaborative efforts with the authorities of other countries in the world. The development of a quality seal of approval, such as the HON Code of Conduct (HONCode) for medical and health Websites, and Web Trader, may be useful in some instances. On a daily basis, all notices from various sources, e.g. police units, customs, citizens, foreign inspectorates are channelled to the Chief Inspectorate. After evaluation of information, appropriate actions are taken in collaboration with foreign services, police, customs, financial departments, etc. The measures mainly concentrate on information gathering, preparation of counteraction and international cooperation.

On a national basis, measures based on repression, such as increased penalties, regular customs checks, and contact with foreign agencies, have been deployed. By using existing tools and by informing the public, the health authority can fulfil its role of safeguarding public health. But how far can or should consumers be protected?

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