A great many Norwegians are buying fake and illegal medicines online. To protect the public from exposure to substances that in the worst cases can be harmful, the government now introduce new rules for private import of medicines.
From October 1st, you can only privately import prescription drugs that have been approved in Norway. This means that the package text must be Norwegian. The requirement for approval in Norway follows from the EEA Agreement. The new rules also means that one can no longer privately import prescription medicines.
WHO estimates that 50 percent of medicines sold over the Internet are fake. This may mean that the medicines are ineffective, so serious illness may not be treated, or that they contain substances other than those described. At worst, they can be downright harmful.
Behind these shipments are often organized criminal networks and it is this business we want to put a stop to. Today Customs return these shipments to sender. This means that drugs often been resent. From October 1st, Customs will have the authority to destroy the drugs they confiscate. This way we get the false and illegal drugs out of circulation.
Those who for medical reasons need to get imported medicines that are not sold in this country will still be able to do it legally through a doctor. The doctor has, with these new rules, the opportunity to apply for exemption from approval when it is necessary for the patient to use medicines that do not have marketing authorization in Norway.
E-cigarettes are not covered by the new rules. It will still be allowed to import e-cigarettes to Norway after 1 October. Neither do the new rules do not affect the ability an individual has to bring these medicines into Norway themselves.While I'm happy to see that e-cigarettes are not affected by these new rules, I still think the rules are the result of totally incompetent politicians not doing their job... at all. As you can see the rules were supposed to be designed to stop criminal networks from sending fake medicines into Norway, which would be great... of course. The problem is that they also ban the import of vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements while they're at it. I came across a good article (in Norwegian) on the matter yesterday (http://www.lillemaane.no/nyhet/252/), which questions how this could happen. It could certainly look like big pharma lobbyists have done some work here. An example: Vitamin D bought online costs 65 NOK for 6 months supply. Buying it here in Norway costs 1253 NOK, or 2136 NOK for the prescription version.
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