How do I check whether an online medicine supplier can be trusted?
You should only order medicines from legally operating suppliers. Here’s how you can check whether a website can be trusted.
Progressive scheme to buy medicines online:
Check these issues to determine if you can buy medicines online
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Online medicine suppliers must be registered with the government. They must also show the European logo on their homepage. If you click on this logo, you should be redirected to the government’s list of authorised suppliers on www.aanbiedersmedicijnen.nl (in Dutch). There you can check whether the supplier is registered with the government, and see what type of medicines the supplier is allowed to sell.
Be aware that logos and websites might be fake. You can be sure that the logo is real if you click on it and are redirected to the official list of authorised suppliers (in Dutch) on www.aanbiedersmedicijnen.nl. Check that the supplier appears on the list.
This logo is only required for websites that sell medicines online. The logo is not required for pharmacies that allow you to submit a prescription digitally, by e-mail or via an upload.
Prescription medicines are medicines that you can only get if you have a prescription from your doctor. A trusted pharmacy will never give you prescription medicines without a prescription. The Medicines Evaluation Board has a Medicines Information Bank. This will tell you whether or not a medicine is available on prescription only.
You do not need a prescription to buy over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. You can buy OTC medicines, like paracetamol, at a chemist or pharmacy. Be alert if you want to buy OTC medicines or vitamins online: they can also be fake. Check whether the supplier is allowed to sell medicines online (see step 1). The website must display the official EU logo (with or without the green border), and clicking on it must take you to the official list of authorised suppliers.
Only pharmacies are allowed to supply prescription drugs. In the Netherlands, pharmacists who run pharmacies must be registered with the Healthcare Inspectorate (IGZ). Do you have an address for the supplier? Check the IGZ’s register of pharmacists (in Dutch) to see whether the supplier is a pharmacy.
Legally operating healthcare professionals are listed in the Healthcare Professionals Register (BIG-register).
Prescriptions medicines cannot be advertised in the Netherlands. If you come across a website advertising 2-for-1 offers on prescription medicines, you can be certain that they are selling falsified medicines.
OTC medicines can be advertised, but they cannot be sold for a reduced price. You can buy OTC medicines, like paracetamol or ibuprofen, at a chemist or pharmacy without a prescription. Be aware: these pills may also be fake.
The Medicines Information Bank tells you whether a medicine is only available on prescription. It also gives other important information on medicines.