Ms Margrethe Nielsen
The Danish Consumer Council, Denmark
Pharmaceuticals represent a very special group of products: they can cure, but they can also hurt. The Danish Consumer Council (DCC) has been involved in international reviews. Apparently, more legislation and guidelines are needed.
The problem for the consumer association is to know how to strengthen consumer protection and to inform and educate consumers and professionals about their rights and obligations. Patients know about their health, and Danish consumers can actually order medicines by using the Internet. They are increasingly better educated and want to take responsibility. They should have access to information that tells them how to use medicinal products safely, e.g., on adverse drug reactions (ADRs), how to use the drug, interactions, etc.
The DCC would like to find the following on the Internet: dispensing by a skilled authorized professional (even if delivered through an e-pharmacy), impartial information, no promotion on prescription drugs, clear policies on how to handle sensitive personal data, and an e-commerce guarantee (giving consumers the right to see and touch the article and to return it within 14 days; however, medicines should not be resold if returned). Selling through the Internet should be licensed as it is in Denmark, because the DCC sees a risk of error with e-commerce, and consumer rights have to be respected.
The DCC has the cooperation of the Industry Association and has established certain criteria that they would like e-commerce to comply with. The DCC can provide a mark that certifies compliance with specific standards.