FAQs - internet pharmacies

What is a legal Internet pharmacy?

A legal Internet pharmacy which sells medicines via the Internet is registered with the responsible supervisory authority (in Austria: BASG) and is subject to its supervision. It must meet the quality requirements laid down in the Medicines Act and the associated Distance Selling Ordinance. This ensures that only lawful medicinal products that meet quality requirements are sold. This serves to protect consumers from counterfeit medicines.

It should be noted that Internet pharmacies are only allowed to sell over-the-counter medicines that have been authorised in Austria when dispensing medicines in and to Austria. Even from an EU member state prescription only medicines must not be sold and delivered to Austria. The sale of prescription medicines via the Internet is a punishable offence in Austria.

How do I recognize a legal Internet pharmacy?

A legal pharmacy selling medicines over the Internet must display a logo with a white cross, green lettering and national flag on its website. A click on the logo leads to the homepage of the authority responsible for the registration of the Internet pharmacy concerned. In Austria, this is the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG). The BASG website lists all registered online pharmacies in Austria that are allowed to sell over-the-counter medicines via the Internet (current list of Austrian mail-order pharmacies). When purchasing medicines on the Internet, make sure that the Austrian online pharmacy of your choice is on this list.

If you are shopping at a foreign Internet pharmacy, check whether it is a registered and legal pharmacy as follows: 1. Click on the logo. 2. check that you are directed to the homepage of the competent supervisory authority and that the pharmacy concerned is on the list of the competent authority. 3. buy only if the pharmacy is listed with the supervisory authority and therefore legal.

What can happen if I take ineffective medication?

At best, nothing happens. However, if you treat a serious illness with counterfeit medicines, serious consequences can be the result. For example, ineffective antibiotics or antibiotics that are too low in dosage can lead to a higher resistance of bacteria in the long term. Diseases can spread further without proper treatment. In most cases there is also the danger that ineffective and illegal medicines contain toxic substances and additionally damage their health.

Is the sale of medicines on the Internet regulated by law?

The sale of medicines via Austrian Internet pharmacies is regulated in the Austrian Medicines Act. The relevant ordinance of the Minister of Health entered into force on 25 June 2015. This distance selling regulation lays down the necessary quality criteria that public pharmacies must meet if they want to sell medicines over the Internet.

Is every Internet pharmacy listed in the register in operation?

Not every registered mail-order pharmacy necessarily has to be in operation at the moment. Some mail-order pharmacies are already registered but still under construction.


Further inquiry note