Guidance

Register for the Distance Selling logo

Register to sell a medicine to the public over the internet and display the Distance Selling logo.

Overview

Falsified medicines are a major threat to public health and safety. Anyone selling medicines to the public via a website must be registered with MHRA and display an Distance Selling logo on every page of the website offering medicines for sale.

The aim of the Distance Selling logo is to help members of the public to identify websites that can legally sell medicines.

Check the register to see which websites are authorised by MHRA to sell medicines online.

The Distance Selling logo must be displayed on every web page that offers to sell medicines to the public.

If you are selling a medicine through a third-party marketplace website, you must include the Distance Selling logo on each and every page of your listings where you offer medicines for sale to the public.

The European Commission has created technical guidance on using the logo.

The logo will be linked to a public register which can be checked by clicking on the logo on the web page.

Selling medicines from the UK via the internet

If you are based in the UK and offer medicines for sale to the public in the UK or in another European Economic Area (EEA) country via a website you must be registered with MHRA and be included in the MHRA’s list of UK registered online retail sellers.

You must display the Distance Selling logo on the pages of the website that you use to offer the medicines and provide MHRA contact details and a link to the MHRA website.

You must also comply with the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002.

Registered pharmacies can sell general sales list medicines, pharmacy only medicines or supply medicines that they have dispensed against a prescription. All other general retailers can only sell general sales list products.

All products sold or supplied by registered users of the Distance Selling logo must be authorised for use in the destination European Economic Area (EEA) country. You can only sell or supply a medicine to a specific EEA country if it is authorised for use in that country. This means that the medicinal product being sold or supplied has to be the authorised product, in its authorised packaging and language as agreed in the product authorisation. In addition some EEA countries do not allow medicines to be sold online in their country or they have other specific rules that apply. It is your responsibility to follow the law of the country that you are selling medicines to.

If you know, suspect or have reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting that a medicine you are selling is falsified, then you must inform MHRA immediately or where applicable the competent authority of another member state and the marketing authorisation holder of that medicine.

You can only get the licensed medicines to be sold on a website from licensed manufacturers, importers and distributors in the UK or in another EEA country.

The registration process

A registration can only cover one company but more than one website can be registered to that company.

New applications can take up to 90 working days to process, excluding time taken to provide further information or data required. MHRA will conduct checks to verify the information provided.

When the process is complete you will be sent a confirmation email including a link for downloading the Distance Selling logo.

Fees and payment

Application fees

Online sellers need to pay on application.

Type of fee Fee
Registration fee £100

Annual renewal fees

Registration needs to be renewed annually, the annual charge is payable on 1 April of each year.

Type of fee Fee
Annual renewal fee £97

Update MHRA on your websites

You should notify MHRA of any changes to your registration details using the PCL portal.

You can use this register to check if a website is legally allowed to sell medicines to the public.

Remove your details from the register

To end your registration, submit a request using the PCL portal. Once you have been removed from the register you will not be allowed to sell any medicines online.

Legislation

The Distance Selling logo was brought in by the Falsified Medicines Directive.

The Falsified Medicines Directive is transposed into UK law through amendments to The Human Medicines Regulations 2012 [SI 2012/1916] with the relevant provisions relating to the sale of medicines to the public at a distance coming into force on 1 July 2015.

Report a suspicious website

Report a website if you think it is selling medicines illegally.

Further information

Selling human medicines online (distance selling) to the public (PDF, 293KB, 13 pages)

European Commission – EU logo for online sale of medicines

NHS Choices – Dangers of buying your medicines online

A guide for business to the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2013)

Further information (PDF, 118KB, 10 pages)

Contact

For all queries regarding Distance Selling Logo email: dsl@mhra.gov.uk and telephone 0203 080 6096.

Published 16 June 2015
Last updated 17 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. Guidance on supplying medicines online updated.
  2. Replaced 'interim arrangement for fees' with two sections: Application fees and Annual Renewal Fees.
  3. Updated information regarding upcoming renewal and application fees.
  4. First published.