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Regulation on OTC Drugs Online Selling

The online selling of OTC drug threatens the safe use of OTC drugs.
Medwatcher Japan issued written requests to Ministry of Health and Labor(MHLW) to strengthen the regulation on OTC drug selling from 2003 to 2005.

In 2006, a board of MHLW, which a Medwatcher Japan member were involved as a member, released a report to ban the websites selling of OTC drug.
Based on this report, MHLW planed to revise Pharmaceutical Affairs Act.

In 2008,however,the internet services companies conducted a campaign against this revision, and Council for Regulatory Reform supported the companies.

To compete their campaign, Medwatcher Japan called for consumer groups to join, and carried out a wide joint campaign to ban OTC drug selling.

As a result, the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act was amended, and in principle selling OTC drugs online was banned in June 2009.

However, internet services companies are campaigning against this, stating that the drugs can be sold on the Internet.

“Face-to-face selling” is essential to guarantee the safe use of OTC drugs,
However, this cannot be achieved through websites that sell such drugs.
Safety over convenience should be prioritised.

Therefore, we submitted a written request to the MHLW, the Consumer Agency, and the Administrative Reform Conference, urging them to maintain the ban on the online selling of OTC drugs in June 2010.

This written request was issued jointly by 15 groups, including drug-induced victims groups, consumer groups, and independent drug bulletins(The Informed Prescriber, NPO JIP) etc.

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