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Medicine sales open up online

Non-prescription health products will be available without seeing the pharmacist

SALES of throat pastilles, stomach tablets, cold remedies and pain-killers will no longer be confined to pharmacies from Friday as the market in 4,000 health products is opened up online.

Although a European directive had authorised online sales of health products since 2011 France is only just coming in to line after the Conseil d’État suspended a section of the Public Health Code limiting such sales to pharmacies.

Around 4,000 non-prescription (and non-reimbursable) medicines will be freely available without having to ask a pharmacist for advice.

Supermarket giant Leclerc wants to go further and has been calling for several years for pharmacies to lose their monopoly on selling health products, arguing that this would bring down prices for consumers by as much as 30%.

However, the World Health Organisation has warned about the rise in online drugstores, saying that more than half of medicines offered for sale are counterfeit.

The United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Portugal and Sweden already have online pharmacies which offer the full range of medicines, including those which need prescriptions.

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