The sale of medicinal drugs has become an integral part of medicinal drug supply since its launch at the turn of the millennium in Europe. Meanwhile, millions of customers throughout Europe are reliably supplied daily with their medicinal drugs and given pharmaceutical advice. The association has developed its own positions on current issues of distant selling.
Medicinal drugs are special type of goods. That is why the association members attach great importance to the best quality and high standards. This includes, for example, a comprehensive patient-specific advice. Service-oriented and with high pharmaceutical expertise that is always at the current state of scientific knowledge, pharmacists answer thousands of inquiries every day. They advise people intensely, personally and discreetly. In addition, Mail Service Pharmacies, because they create individual health records, have the advantage that they are always able to identify interactions or duplicate prescriptions in a standardised manner. This includes orders of prescription medicinal drugs as well as preparations for self-medication. Modern forms of communication are used to continuously improve the advice. For a long time, the association has sought a central medication file to which both doctors as well as pharmacists have access. This is far from being available in all EU Member States.
eCommerce is now part of everyday life. With the increase of e-commerce also the logistics provider, important part of the supply chain, constantly improve their offer. Today it is standard that a purchase order received by noon, reaches the customer on the next business day. Speciality Mail Service for products requiring refrigeration ensure that medicinal drug is not damaged on the way to the patient. Meanwhile providers are working to ensure that an order is delivered on the same day. But not only the speed is critical. Mail Service Pharmacies also supply to any place, no matter how lonely it may be. Thus they contribute significantly to security of supply in those regions where stationary offers are increasingly rare.
Medicinal drug safety
If medicinal drugs must be withdrawn from the market, it is important to inform affected customers as soon as possible in order to avoid health risks. In case of a medicinal drug recall Mail Service Pharmacies are at an advantage over the pharmacies on site. Thanks to electronic health records, users of the respective medicinal drug must be located quickly and easily and can be informed immediately.
All members of the European Association of Mail Service Pharmacies have an operating license and a mail service business license of their home country. They are subject to the same strict rules of the respective Pharmacy Act as any on-site pharmacy. Consumers can browse through the single European Mail Service Pharmacies logo, which characterises reliable Mail Service Pharmacies, check the registration of individual Mail Service Pharmacies in the national registers. The European Association of Mail Service Pharmacies works with national, European, and at international level in numerous committees to combat illegal operators. The protection of patients is top priority.
In the entire world new eHealth solutions are emerging. These increase personal commitment of patients, generate efficiency gains for health systems and can help to cope with the 21st century with all its challenge of an ageing society. A high quality supply system needs the rapid transfer of scientific knowledge and innovations. In the context of rapidly progressive digitalisation of industry and society, networking and integration of health-related data in the healthcare system plays a central role in the future. Especially the modern information technology reduces the administrative burden in the health sector and strengthens the quality of services. In addition, new personalised products and services will change the manner of medical care. The active participation of the digital shift and the participation of society in the benefits of eHealth services are critical success factors for healthcare players. The patient will in future need to assume greater responsibility for their own health. Since one is the owner of one's data and may grant access to the data always and everywhere, if one so wishes. A central patient record and a central medication list are the cornerstones of a modern healthcare system. An electronic prescription not only helps to prevent errors, it also speeds up the care for the patient with the medicinal drugs that are most important for him/her. In many Member States eHealth is already self-evident part of the health system, while others are still at the early stages of development. The European Association of Mail Service Pharmacies supported the introduction of eHealth and is actively working in the European Health Telematics Association (www.ehtel.eu).