[Ip-health] Brussels Principles on Medication Sales Over the Internet

Andrew S. Goldman andrew.goldman at keionline.org
Tue Jun 27 15:29:58 PDT 2017


https://www.keionline.org/node/2817

On March 31st, KEI joined Prescription Justice, EFF, and Public Citizen at
RightsCon 2017 to discuss the issues of sales of medication over the
Internet. I was in attendance on KEI's behalf; Gabe Levitt represented
Prescription Justice; Jeremy Malcolm presented for EFF; and Burcu Kilic was
there for Public Citizen. It was one of the few panels at RightsCon
dedicated to medicines/health.

After the session, the panelists convened to draft an agreement on a series
of overarching principles that may help guide policy and shape the
conversation.

KEI's views on importation of medicines are nuanced, and, in particular,
focus on the benefits of regulating parallel trade to ensure safety of
products, and, in a global system that uses high drug prices to induce
investments in R&D, on the practical importance of limiting commercial
scale parallel trade from lower income countries to higher income
countries, in most circumstances.

KEI was pleased with the final draft (copied below), which addresses a
number of issues important to consumers. The Principles focus on the rights
on individuals to use the Internet to order medications and have them
delivered through the mail, particularly when patients have no other
realistic options. Governments are also asked to identify and sanction
online pharmacies that engage in the intentional sale of counterfeit and
falsified medication, as defined by the World Health Organization, and to
otherwise ensure that online pharmacies are a reliable and safe source of
medications. The Principles also recognize "the need for policies that
protect and facilitate affordability of drugs in countries with different
incomes," which is consistent with rules that place appropriate limits on
commercial scale parallel trade from low income countries to higher income
countries.

There is a web page for persons or groups interested in endorsing the
petition here:

https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/brussels-principles-medication-over-the-net

For group endorsements, please email jodi[at]prescriptionjustice[dot]org
with the subject "Endorse Brussels Principles".

*Brussels Principles on Medication Sales over the Internet*

Recognizing,

that the cost and local availability of medication is a global barrier to
essential medical treatments for hundreds of millions of people;

that the Internet has served as a disruptive force to traditional industry
in the practice of pharmacy and trade in pharmaceuticals, allowing for the
ethical international sale of medications to patients;

that countries are neglecting their human rights obligations when their
citizens do not have adequate access to affordable healthcare, including
medication;

We affirm the following principles relating to the sale of medicine ordered
for personal use on the Internet:

   -
   - Access to affordable medications is an essential component to the
   fundamental human right to health.
   - Laws, regulations, and enforcement actions that impede online access
   to lower-priced, lawfully manufactured medication can be inimical to public
   health.
   - Consumers should be able to use the Internet to order and have
   delivered through the mail safe and affordable medications.
   - National laws can violate fundamental human rights when their effect
   prevents and, or, deters, citizens from importing medications for personal
   use who, because of cost or other access reasons, when patients have no
   other realistic options.
   - Countries, and international organizations to which they belong,
   should promote a competitive online marketplace for safe pharmaceuticals,
   one that respects and empowers consumers, recognizing the need for policies
   that protect and facilitate affordability of drugs in countries with
   different incomes.
   - Policies that affect online access to medication should be
   consumer-focused, patient-centered, evidence-based, and created with the
   understanding that prices often prohibit access.
   - Recognizing the public health benefit in enabling consumers to find
   international online pharmacies that are safe and reliable, international
   and national enforcement efforts should focus on identifying and
   sanctioning online pharmacies that engage in the intentional sale of
   counterfeit and falsified medication, as defined by the World Health
   Organization, and otherwise ensuring that online pharmacies are a reliable
   and safe source of medications.
   - Internet intermediaries, such as domain name registries, advertising
   networks, payment processors, financial institutions and mail and delivery
   services should not misuse their commercial power to disrupt online access
   to lawful, safe and affordable medication.


--
Andrew S. Goldman
Counsel, Policy and Legal Affairs
Knowledge Ecology International
andrew.goldman at keionline.org // www.twitter.com/ASG_KEI
tel.: +1.202.332.2670
www.keionline.org



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