The European Commission will amend the rules on the types and amount of information the pharmaceutical industry is allowed to supply to consumers. Interestingly, the amendments are actually aimed at reducing the amount of information available, in order to prevent consumers from being overwhelmed.
The new rules should also make it easier to tell which sources of information are reliable. The latter is especially important as illegal pharmacies step up their efforts to sell fake and expired drugs online.
The proposed changes would apply to a law last updated in 2008. Among them:
- Only certain information on prescription-only medicines would be allowed on packaging, on prices, clinical trials and instructions for use.
- Information on prescription-only medicines would be available though a limited number of sources, such as on officially registered websites or information packets that must be requested specifically by the public. Publications in general print media (such as magazines and newspapers) will be forbidden.
- New quality criteria will be imposed on pharmaceutical information.
- New information will require approval from proper authorities.
The revised proposals put rights, interests and safety of patients first. They oblige industry to provide certain key information to patients and set clear rules for additional, voluntary information on prescription medicines. In addition, they further strengthen the control of authorized medicines.